What Responsibilities does a Writer Have?

Reflections on my writing week:

Weary Writer Logic: Annie Murphy Paul wrote in, “Your Brain on Fiction”, in the New York Times:

“Brain scans are revealing what happens in our heads when we read a detailed description, an evocative metaphor or an emotional exchange between characters. Stories, this research is showing, stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life.”

I learned this when I was eight, after finishing Charlotte’s Webb by E.B. White. Tears streamed down my face and my world shifted. I’ll never forget the spider, or think of friends in the same way.I’m sure you’ve  felt the power of words, too. I’m glad the scanners are catching up:)

Paul goes on to say:

“The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated…reading produces a vivid simulation of reality… Fiction — with its redolent details, imaginative metaphors and attentive descriptions of people and their actions — offers an especially rich replica. Indeed, in one respect novels go beyond simulating reality to give readers an experience unavailable off the page: the opportunity to enter fully into other people’s thoughts and feelings.”

If reading is good for us, then writers play an important role in our lives. How’s that for weary writer logic:)

Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words?  If not, how much is it worth? Here’s my dilemma. I need to market myself, so that people will  read my stories, but it’s hard. I created my profile pictures by holding my phone at arm’s length and clicking. They  suck. What do I do?  I’m grey haired, past 50, have a big nose, and am painfully shy. I’m not exactly model material for a photographer.  The questions I’m struggling with are: 1) How much am I willing to pay a photographer to create an image of me?  2) Do I want an authentic picture? Really? 3) Should I follow one photographer’s suggestion and go for “noire” whatever that means?

I think of Dolly Parton. Underneath all the makeup is a real person who shines through. Would she be where she is today without the proper, or in her case, not so proper, image?

What should a romantic suspense writer look like? Hmmm. When I read a book I couldn’t care less what the author looks like, but in the digital world images matter. They become part and parcel of the communication. Think about it. There are some Tweeters I won’t follow because of their profile pics. The one that comes to mind presented two well rounded butt cheeks. I kid you not. Corners of the twitter world can be quite creepy. Where do I fit in:)

Decisions …decisions. I’ve booked a photo session for Monday. I’ll let you know how it goes.

A bothersome quote:       “95% of the authors self-publishing today will not be here in 2 years.” (Jen Talty,  “The Secret Success of the Digital Author”)

Talty uses this stat to make the point that a writer must have perseverance. I understand that, but stats are misleading. The other 5% to my mind, are hard core addicts (to writing). Why else would they do it when the odds of sustaining success are so slim?

My Writing? I’m working on revisions, liking my story a little bit more every day. I’m meeting with a new critique group next week and am excited about that.

My blog is getting noticed. The post that generated the most hits was Tuesday’s, “Gotta Love Troll’s” (148 hits, mostly from the US, and 1 comment). Go figure.

Does a Writer Have Responsibilities? When I was a student, mother …teacher I knew my responsibilities, but as a writer I find the lines blurred by “creative license.” Maybe, that’s because I’m my own boss at the moment. My gut says a writer, like any human being in our society, has responsibilities to his fellow man/woman, and perhaps more, because the sword he yields, the word, is so powerful. My end of the week musings.

What do you think?

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

Jo-Ann Carson writes a saucy mix of fantasy, adventure and romance. Her latest stories are in the Gambling Ghosts Series: A Highland Ghost for Christmas, A Viking Ghost for Valentine’s Day, Confessions of a Pirate Ghost and The Biker Ghost Meets his Match. An anthology of the novellas will be coming out this summer. Currently she is working on Midnight Magic, A Ghost & Abby Mystery, the first book in a spin-off series from her Viking ghost story. Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, playing Mah Jong and drinking good coffee. You can chat with her on social media: You can find all her links on her website - http://jo-anncarson.com

19 thoughts on “What Responsibilities does a Writer Have?”

  1. First, I think most people are critical of the way they look-pointing out what they perceive as ‘flaws’ when the rest of us don’t see that at all. I think your picture looks like lovely.

    I think with professional photos, that’s a personal preference but I don’t want to look one way on the cover of a book jacket and another way in reality.

    Like

    1. Sonya
      You are too kind.
      I like your comment about wanting a pic that’s close to reality.
      Thanks for coming by and commenting.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

      Like

  2. This reminded me of a picture I once saw at a colleague’s home during a seasonal party…it was a wedding photograph featuring a handsome couple and it took me a while to realize it was my host in the picture because it looked nothing like the woman I’d known for several years. We sometimes turn ourselves into strangers for special events – in the case of being writers, maybe a photo that doesn’t make us instantly recognizable isn’t a bad thing, neither is one that actually looks like us.

    I agree, the struggle between putting ourselves out there and wanting to retain some anonymity is conflicting. Good post!

    Like

    1. Leslie
      I love your story about the wedding picture. I know what you mean. We are all getting used to air brushing and photo shop.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      I still don’t know what I’m going to ask for from my photographer:)
      Best
      Jo-Ann

      Like

  3. JoAnn,
    The picture you see of me was done about three weeks ago. I had a professional do them and they are good pictures of me. Why, because I look nothing like this in real life. Everyday is sweat pants and a tee shirt day at my house! My sister is a hairdresser and has always been the one who gets noticed for her good looks. My mother always said I’m a late bloomer. (I’m still waiting to bloom by the way). She did my make up and hair, and I have to admit, it felt great being fussed over. I also haven’t had my picture taken since I got married (the first time) at seventeen (I’m 51 now). I take other people pictures, and hate anyone to take mine. Personally, I love your picture. I think you look great. But if it makes you feel better to have a professional do one, then do it! I love mine!
    Diane Kratz

    Like

    1. Diane
      I love your pic. I noticed how nice it was, before I learned that it was professionally done. And…I have to say it, you have bloomed. I think you look great, and the fact you feel good about it, is bonus:)
      I like your idea that the questions really comes down to how I feel about my profile picture, and if I will feel better with a professional one, then I should do it.
      Thanks for coming by, and leaving your comment. You’ve given me a lot to think about.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

      Like

      1. Diane
        I’ll share them next week (I think:)
        Best
        Jo-Ann
        Tks again for coming by and for all your support.

        Like

  4. I love this Jo-Ann: “The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life.” — I believe it too because if I can bawl over a 15 second commerical, you know I can totally cry my eyes out when I’m reading a book.

    The photo you took of yourself is great, but I say have fun with the photographer! 🙂

    Like

    1. Misty
      You’re a softy too, eh. I agree good stories leave their mark.
      I like your advice about having fun. If I can just relax enough to do that:)
      Thanks for coming by.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

      Like

  5. I just had new photos made. They look like me only better. The most important thing I’ve found is to feel comfortable and alive. Discomfort shows not in the nose or the hair but in the eyes and can kill a picture. And make us seem cold when we’re just uncomfortable.

    Like

    1. Shelley
      I’m looking at a red square. Where is your photo? We’d all like to see it.
      Thanks for the advice. I’ll be thinking about it in my session. I believe you about the eyes.
      Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

      Like

  6. Hi, Jo-Ann. I like this photo, too. Can’t believe you were able to take it yourself. I’ve tried doing that holding a grand in my arms and the results were, shall we say, less than what I’d have liked. LOL
    You need to do what makes you comfortable. My pic was done by a man in my husband’s office who wanted to be a professional photog, but wasn’t yet. (I confess it’s several years old. The main difference is I’m heavier now, but still basically look like this.) I needed a head shot for a play I was performing in. I’ve had them done by professionals at other times for school board campaigns in former lives. Enjoy your head shot appointment and pick whichever pic makes you feel better. Hopefully, it’s going to end up on lots of books, so you want to like it.
    Loved the info on the brain–we don’t appreciate it nearly enough. Can’t wait to hear how the apt goes. PS Turquoise is my favorite color and for posed pics I always try to have some of it on somewhere. If you have a favorite color that makes you feel good about yourself, you might think o wearing it. Good luck and have fun.

    Like

    1. Marsha
      A play! You certainly have a diverse background. Do tell. What was your part? …We do accumulate lives don’t we.
      I like your profile picture, because you look friendly and approachable, which you are. I think he did a great job of capturing you. I hope mine will turn out that well.
      Thanks for the advice on color. I need to take something to make me feel good.
      Thank you for coming by, and leaving a comment. …And…I love your line about all the books my pics going to be on. What a lovely thought.
      Now, if I could finish the scene I’m working on
      Best
      Jo-Ann

      Like

  7. Jo-Ann, I love the picture. You look like a person I’ like to get to know. I’ve tried the phone camera thing and the pictures were awful. However, my critique partner took one that way and it’s beautiful. Maybe it’s me? LOL
    On the other hand, I think a photo shoot would be fun.

    Like

    1. Stephanie
      You are too kind, and we are always our worst critics. I’ll let you know how the photo shoot goes LOL.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s