When you have your thumb in too many pies, you run out of thumbs fast. That’s when you need to take stock of what occupies your time and allot better for the creativity you want to pursue.
Since 2016, I’ve focused on a physical creative space… which (thanks to COVID) turned into a home office. I put a lot of effort into building up MovieCrypt.com and my relationship with the film community, but the drawback has been letting my original writing languish. Writer’s block is a thing, but there’s also getting out of good habits like reading and writing every day, honing your wordsmithery, and doing necessary research.
The other half is marketing oneself, a skill modern writers have to work hard at. How does your work stand out? What’s “your brand?” Does your appearance make you instantly recognizable? Those lucky enough to have marketing done for them needn’t expend on any thought on this, but the rest of us do; the work may speak for itself, but finding enthusiastic eyeballs requires a significant megaphone.
Many creators who venture out into public choose a specific hat or a build a collection of similarly styled headwear. It has the advantage of doing the planning up front before putting on the same convention costume whenever the need calls for it. But, as they say, anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
At the 2010 MegaCon, I tried on a mad hatter top hat, snapped a selfie, and I enjoyed the way it looked, but why stop there? People don’t wear hats as formalwear anymore unless it’s a throwback, and what can be found even online is often cheap throwaway costuming at best. After finding a mad hatter top hat in my size at Miller Hats in Houston, Texas, I decided to go all in on the classic retro goateed villain, looking ready to foreclose on a widow’s farm or tie Taylor Swift to the railroad tracks.
My first appearance after secret image shares of my hat sizing was the Houston Film Critics Society 16th Annual Film Awards presentation at MATCH Houston… and it made quite the impression. By the time the Oddities & Curiosities Expo rolled into H-town two months later, I had already made significant upgrades. One lady in line at the concession stand stopped me and said, “You look like you stepped out of Anne Rice novel.”
There was one irresistible thing at the expo: a booth called Holliday Tintype doing old-fashioned tintype photography made by creating a direct positive onto a thin sheet of metal (aluminum in this day and age). Could there be a better way to create a new author’s photo showcasing my new look? I don’t think so!
Sifting through some fresh shots of my nearly complete writing space, I uploaded a new header image, made some edits and tweaks, and here we are at the relaunch. With plans to expand my writing offerings, I’ll need to pull back everything but film critique to my ThinkingSkull.com website to better maintain it, which means a few of my story sites will eventually become placeholders. The best of those works will be imported here and given a fine going-over.
Time to stop whispering from the sidelines and begin keening from the catacombs.
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