I went with my family to the circus the other day.
Not one of those big Cirque de Soleil type spectaculars. This was a small-scale one, the kind that’s been wandering through the cities and towns of Australia for something like forty years. Although I have to say that even an old-school type of circus like this has gone all disco. None of that old-fashioned oompah-oompah sort of circus music – it was all doof-doof, at ear-shattering volume. I guess that’s just a sign of the times we live in.
Anyway, while I was sitting and watching the performers (with my hands over my ears), my thoughts turned to writing (as they usually tend to, I have a rather oddly-focused one-track mind). And that’s when it occured to me that we writers are just like circus performers in so many ways.
I actually made the connection while I was watching one of the jugglers, and being amazed by his ability to keep so many balls up in the air. But as an indie writer, that’s just what I seem to be doing all the time. There’s the actual writing ball – that’s the easy one. Then there’s the editing ball and the proofreading balls. Not to mention the formatting and typesetting balls. But hardest of all to keep up is the marketing ball. That’s definitely the one I always seem to end up dropping.
But then it hit me that we’re a lot more than jugglers. We’re also a high-wire act, carefully balancing all the elements that make up a story – the plot and the setting and of course the characters – and hoping that we can make it to the end of our story without toppling over. And we’re also trapeze artistes, swinging back and forward, somersaulting high in the air, without the “net” of a big publisher to support us if we fall.
So roll up, roll up. The indie author circus is coming to town. Marvel at the amazing, gravity-defying tricks we manage to pull off. Be amazed at what we can pull out of a hat. And hope that we don’t end up falling on our faces. Because being an indie author can be a difficult thing to pull off – and none of us wants to end up looking like a clown.
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