Using the Electrons

Don’t let go
I feel the music in you, you, you YOU!
Fly high
What’s real can’t die
You only get what you give
Don’t give up
Just don’t be afraid to live
From “You Get What You Give,” by New Radicals; Lyrics by Gregg Alexander

I first heard this song in the late ‘90s and fell in love with it.  It’s the sound of truth colliding with the machines that protect the status quo.  The machines are often economic and legalistic, and they’re meant to protect the interests of the people who’ve created them. 

I can relate to the machines and their creators.  The machines do some good things for society.  I know too much to rage against the machine.  But sometimes, we need a revolution.  Because machines must serve truth, not create their own truth.

… Earlier this year at the San Francisco Writers’ Conference, I heard voices from inside the literary machine – the agents and editors who serve as gatekeepers into the traditional literary process – defecting.  Confessing.  Telling hundreds of mostly-aspiring writers, that our best hope for making our maximum impact on the world is to bypass the business model they’re part of.  Instead, join the revolution.  The e-publishing revolution.

Their message was mostly delivered with love.  I say this because it came with warnings that made sense.  Paraphrasing:  “You can self-publish in an eye-blink, but you had better be really good.  Eighty percent of books that were e-published in 2009 sold ten copies or less (or some similar stat).  You can get read, but don’t take shortcuts.  Write, edit, and be ruthless with yourself just like you were trying to get a top agent, just as if there were no electrons zipping over the Web that you can harness on your own.”

You get what you give.  If you’ve been serious about getting your stuff out there, you already know you’ve got to pour yourself into your craft, giving more to it than you ever thought possible.  But there’s good news:  What’s real can’t die.  If your writing contains truth, don’t give up.  Don’t be afraid to let your writing live.

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