I admire Madonna. From the time she burst on the pop-music scene, she has constantly reinvented herself every decade, always teaming up with the current artist on trend.
I am not Madonna.
But thanks to technology I too am able to constantly reinvent myself in this lifetime.
So it means I don’t have to choose just one role anymore. I can simultaneously be an author, a blogger and a marketer.
I was a writer first, then became a marketer, thanks to opportunities in media and also because the roles held which allowed me to travel to many different countries in the world. The most memorable of these is the city of Belgrade. A story I heard there was that when NATO bombed the city in 1999, the schools, colleges, offices were shut down, for security reasons.
But rather than stay scared at home, the Serbs decided that what the heck! We are going to die some day, and if it’s today so be it. The general consensus was that they’d rather die while partying on the town than cowering at home. And, so while bombs dropped outside they were at the pub celebrating.
Fact or fiction I don’t know, but this particular nugget has stayed with me. Probably because I wish I could be as ‘ballsy’ as the Serbs. You know… Just live in the moment, make the most of it, rather than continuously plan out for the future as is what we are programmed to do.
So, the reason I share this story, is that all through the time I journeyed through these highly demanding marketing roles, I realise now I was actually searching for human interest stories.
I looked for it in the background of my peers, in the motivations of the CEOs I met—often trying to understand what makes them do what they did—in the more interesting real life-story narrated by the security-guard at the last office I worked at. It was this trying to understand what people are all about, which propelled me on. Perhaps in their experiences, I was looking for a key to understanding myself better.
All that time, I had been building scenarios & characters in my head. So when I finally put some real intention behind the words, stringing them together, I found I had opened something even I didn’t really understand. Not fully.
I am learning with each book I write, with each character I create.
Being a marketer is very valuable, because even as I write my novels the marketer in me is figuring out how to position it and trying to understand how what I am writing will stand out in the cluttered world we live in. I think it even helps me in sharpening my protagonists point-of-view. Because after all that’s what a brand is about: it has certain values, a certain DNA, an unique take on the world. That’s the perception people buy into. And so for myself as an author brand and for each of my book/character-brands, I am subconsciously building the messaging, of how to convey what I am writing to the world; even as I am writing.
I used to be very defensive that I had been a marketer first and an author later. For it felt like in doing so I had been untrue to the artist in me. But I know now, that all through that time, I always have been a writer. That is the red-thread running through my life. Of, being someone who needs to express herself. Yet, that need for self-expression has been of varying strengths at different stages in my life.
Earlier, in life the need for independence and travel overrode everything else.
Now, the need to self-express is most critical.
So, while I will always be both an author and a marketer, I can instinctively play the role asked of me, depending on the situation I am faced with.
My choice is that I don’t have to choose.