Gentle Incompetence

Recently I have been paying more attention to my writing career. Sorry, I’ve got a bit carried away there. What I meant to say was,” I’ve been paying a bit  more attention to my desire to have a writing career”. A couple of people, and you know who you are, have sought to ease my journey with some well placed advice.

I’ve sensed, very discretely, that they have been slightly baffled by my unworldly lack of awareness of all things “Marketing”.  There is a documentary called “Searching for Sugarman” which, among other things, won the Oscar for best documentary at this years ceremony, and tells the story of an amazing and modest songwriter/ poet who recorded two albums in 1970 or thereabouts, which bombed utterly only, without anyone knowing, for him to become bigger than Elvis or the Beatles in South Africa via Bootleg recordings and other strange twists of fate. He became the musical voice of the anti-apartheid movement in that country while working away in his construction job in Detroit, utterly unaware of his musical standing  abroad.

A brief flirtation with honesty forces me to the conclusion that I possibly am not as talented as this man  but we share a common approach to marketing. Both of us  are proof of how important a grasp of its disciplines are. or in his case were,  to the modern “creative”.

There must a pub, located somewhere in a back streets of the ” Afterlife” where a selection of “Mute inglorious Milton’s” wish they had been a little more switched on with the basics of blowing their own trumpets in the discordant band of life  located on a noisy planet somewhere beneath their feet.

Not talking about myself for a second, which naturally lowers my level of interest, although it may raise yours, I’ve found the presence of “Sugarman” in the creative universe to be very inspiring. He’s made me believe, if only half-heartedly, that true  talent is its own marketing, and that I do not need to learn how to put photographs up with my posts. On the other hand, it may be the case that not knowing how to put photographs up on my Blog, and litter it with “keywords” and the rest has saved me from the awful truth that when I say “talent” I really mean some ability, with the emphasis on the word “Some” !. I am not seeking for praise here, faint or otherwise. The ability of the internet to increase an individuals powers of self-delusion becomes more apparent to me every day.

It has also taught me that funny old guy sucking on a fruit lozenge at the bus-stop may really be the greatest poet since T.S. Eliot. Should I wander over to him and ask for his “pre-fame” autograph.

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
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34 Responses to Gentle Incompetence

  1. Ina says:

    Interesting post. I think good writing only needs a good editor. Writers are no marketing experts and should not have to be such. Blogs are nice to experiment your skills on 🙂 and you have great writing skills!


    • That’s very nice of you, of course. I’ve been told with increasing confidence, that “You’ll never make any money from your Blog”. I am sure that is true, but it would be nice to earn something from my writing. Mind you, it would also be nice to have a holiday snorkeling in the Virgin Islands but both seem a little unlikely at the moment.


  2. solarexpert says:

    It’s a YES from me as he might give you a fruit lozenge and that would be better than an autograph. If he is not a writer it could be he thinks you a chancer and gives you a black eye!


    • Faced with the chance to recognise a true genius I might risk the black eye. The behaviour of “over” gifted people is sometimes unpredictable. even if their choice of sweets must be applauded


  3. I think there are people made famous through marketing techniques and there are others that are made famous just because they are talented and the right person happened upon their work. I think alot of it is fate, sure you have to “put it out there” but if you are a talented writer (which you are) whether you have pictures or key words isn’t going to make or break you.
    Have you tried submitting to magazines etc?

    If it is your passion just keep doing it, fate, life, God has a way of putting things in our laps ee never thought possible.


  4. Passion. Desire. Honesty.

    Without it, our writing is shit.

    If we are shit, an editor is shit.

    You Rock The words, Peter.

    YES! Photos, please Xxxxx

    btw, where are you in London?
    ps. sorry about “Shit,” but it seemed apt.


  5. winsomebella says:

    A lot more of us have a shot at two minutes of fame, with or without talent, thanks be the Internet. Photos optional 🙂


  6. I don’t know the formula for fame. Just as well. How would I ever reconcile my Buddhist principles with it? 😉 Neither am I musically inclined, so blowing my own horn is bound to be a challenge. I best write quietly and hope that the old “grapevine” (now powered by technology beyond my comprehension) still works.


  7. Well I am giving you praise and if it makes you feel better I will keep it faint. (She said, shouting) 🙂

    Tell me where your writing lands when you get rhrough the marketing system – I will be there!


  8. Abby says:

    “Not talking about myself for a second, which naturally lowers my level of interest, although it may raise your” Love this line.

    Anyway, back to me. PLEASE don’t get caught up in all of that jazz. I’m “techincally” a “real” writer in that I’m the writer and editor of national trade publications, but it really involves minimal creativity and I couldn’t care less about it. My blog? I love it, but I think I love it because I’m really trying to not get caught up in the business side of things (ha–never made a dime, never will) and concern myself with marketing, buzz words, etc. I’m actually an idiot who likes to try and make people laugh and build a community. I guess it’s all in your intent.

    All I can say is I love your blog and don’t want you to change. But I’m selfish and should probably write a post about this myself. However, would anyone read it? Is that subject interesting to anyone? Could I include buzz words to get comments? Hmmm… 😉 Write for you, or else what’s the point?


  9. Well you make me laugh, and your approach to life mirrors mine in many ways, so I always have you down as “one of the good guys”


  10. babs50nfab says:

    I loved Sugarman! What a great story, on so many levels. I can relate to what you’re saying here about wanting some financial reward but not so much the spotlight. I feel the same way. Hell, if any of my crazy family ever thought I might have some money I’d have to leave the country! Don’t want that. I would just like to be paid for my work. Funny thing is, I don’t think of writing or creating art as work.
    When we do what we’re meant to do, and it flows easily, makes us feel whole, fills many voids, it doesn’t resemble work in any way. However…the mortgage still has to be paid. So, I agree with you. There comes a time when we need to be compensated. I’m into year 4 and finally getting around to making it happen. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
    And as for SEO…I have never paid much attention to it. Do what you love…the money will follow!


  11. gotham girl says:

    Love, love, love the movie Sugarman! Just do what you love…ever how YOU want to do it!


  12. Al says:

    “Not talking about myself for a second, which naturally lowers my level of interest”. I could not stop laughing. Damn, ducks, this sentence alone is Pulitzer worthy!

    No one I have ever read turns a phrase quite like you. Whatever it takes, get out there so the rest of the world can savor what we bloggers feast upon.


  13. Your writing is really too good to not be read be as MANY people as possible. I do hope you get to be read more and more widely and, this is important too, make money from it some day 🙂

    Good luck figuring out magazines that share a kindred spirit. I love the blogging world, but paper will always be paper 🙂


  14. Purely.. Kay says:

    Inspiring. Writing definitely makes me whole and definitely helps soothe whatever I am going through. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if I pick the right thing to blog about or the keywords, it’s about how you feel when you blog. If people will come, then they will come. And by blogging I’ve met the most interesting people.. especially you 🙂


  15. renxkyoko says:

    I think you can actually write, countingducks. You’re ” real”.


  16. Julie says:

    Hello Mr. Wells,

    It’s your friend in the south just chiming in to say hello. I enjoy your posts very much. In fact, I find it inspiring to see when by luck, by experience, or by slight of the hands, there is no space after the comma. It makes me want to ask for your password and update it. It’s incredibly endearing and honest. I also think it’s rare. I also admire how your readers adore you. It certainly is a nice thing.

    As far as marketing your work goes, I think you’ll find the way slowly. What I’d suggest is that you come up with a couple of good titles, like, I don’t know: How and Why You Write. Then I’d get one of your friends to whip those words up into a little cover page, throw in some text with your usual witty content and then upload it into a little book you could sell on Amazon.

    That’s what I would do next if I were a bit smarter or one of those internet experts.



    • Julie says:

      Here’s the link for your exploraton. You’d love the automatically generated book covers I’ve been playing with myself.


      • Just so you know I listen to what you say, I have opened up that createspace thing, and I’m trying to understand its simple instructions. Thank you so much for pointing me in their direction


    • It’s a new sign of friendship when you progress from using someone’s first name to calling them by their surname, so you’ve made me smile already. To be honest, a few people have talked about my putting some posts up on Amazon under a title such as “The Slackers Guide to Success” or “Afternoon Tea and the Power of Spiritual Cleansing”. but I’m not convinced that people buy books by people they’ve never heard of and who lack the money to market them. If I was a top sportsman, or politician things might be different. Mind you, I have been playing a little golf recently if that helps. Your visits always cheer me on , so don’t stop making them.


      • Julie says:

        Both are nice titles. If you can get someone to laugh and smile in the title, I think that’s a good start. As far as I can tell, most authors are following this route. As far as names go, it’s an old habit of mine to create many names for my friends.


  17. nelle says:

    I despise marketing. For a decade, I was self-employed in insurance, and it ended in disaster when my life crashed. Self-promotion runs headlong into a personal phobia. I don’t mind posting a picture or a video, that’s just part of an intuitive feel for a particular story, and really shouldn’t be seen as compulsory marketing, at least I don’t see it that way. Getting out there horn-honking, now that retches my stomach. There’s something to be said for truth, even in presenting fiction. 😉


  18. Hear! Hear! I have to agree whole-heartedly with you! I can say this with ease that from my last career in the foray of the blogging world that most of the time the blogs that shine are not always necessarily the ones that follow the rules of marketer’s or blogging experts. You will always catch me rolling my eyes as soon as I hear or read the words “Finding the Niche for Your Blog” or my favorite “Making Your Blog Your Brand.” I always feel like throwing up in my mouth…

    Also, I just read a fabulous article in the New Yorker “How David Beats Goliath: When Underdogs Break the Rules ”
    I firmly believe as long as you are innovative and creative that is all you need to take down Goliath.


  19. angelmanna says:

    I hear you on the paid work – difficult to get in creative writing but the pressure on writers to self- market these days is almost inhumane. One is expected to have so much in place for themselves, I wonder whether publishing houses are needed at all… another just went bankrupt in Canada, already proving this new fangled way of marketing one self leads to self publishing and the rest is history. So far, lol.


  20. Jen says:

    Good marketing is necessary these days if you want to take advantage of the Internet to build your audience, which you’ve clearly already done a good job of. Traditional marketing doesn’t exist anymore so there is reason to loathe it. ;). Anyway, look at how many people visit your blog AND comment. I think you are better at it than you think. But I would say take a step back and evaluate if you haven’t already, what you mean by writing career. What does that look like (in more detail)? The closer we come to knowing exactly what it is we want, the easier it becomes to draw it towards us, either with marketing or with other actions.


  21. By a writing career I mean something which the transfer of money into my account. That is some kind of professional wordsmith. May I say how much I appreciate your thorough and reasoned reply. It made my day. I am looking at ways of getting myself known, but its difficult in an overcrowded market. Still, you don’t know unless you try. Thank you again


  22. Mick McCoy says:

    Really enjoyed your post since it contains musings many … most writers have contemplated. A small thought in favour of adding photos to your posts: if you aim for a photo that represents the nature / intent of your words, it can be instructive for you as a writer about the point you were trying to make with your words, about the significance of the setting, or about some other aspect of the words. It ain’t such a bad thing 😉


  23. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    I watched Searching for Sugarman. It was great.

    Marketing is a difficulty, I reckon, too much hard thinking about base things. Same with SEO etc etc – too difficult for my mind to focus on. This can be very counterproductive, I do realise in today’s world, if you want to ‘get known’. Yet it’s just too damned consuming.

    I read an article by a writer who was asked what cyber place she thought was the most useful for marketing. She said Twitter. I decided to open a Twitter, and just have, but as for ‘tweeting’ ‘Just went to supermarket’ or ‘Thinking about putting the kettle on’… I don’t know. I’m going to try & identify interesting groups to follow, but to be honest I will be MIGHTY hassled if it causes lots of emails…. Don’t know, will give it a go. So that’s about as hard marketing I get – opening an account on the “spreads like wildfire” forum.

    Good luck to us both! 🙂


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