Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Monday, February 09, 2009

Doing what sells

Some time back, I finally got the chance to read the lyrics of the songs on the New Kids on the Block CD, The Block. I'd been a semi-fan of them for some time. (And I say "semi" because I can't even hear them and I'm not one of those CRAZY OBSESSED FANS that hunt them down, scream when I hear their names or spend hours looking at their pictures. Sheesh!) Well, I'd only been able to read the lyrics of a couple of their new songs (thanks to the fans who posted them online!) and I liked what I was reading. So after I bought the CD, I was hoping I could read the lyrics to their other songs.

Well, that didn't happen. The CD cover-label-thingy didn't have the lyrics on there. Sigh! So I did some searching on the 'Net and found a site that had the other lyrics. I started clicking on the other songs and started reading. But I didn't read ALL of them. I soon grew disgusted with the theme of many of their songs. Talking about seeing women as sex objects and talking to them in a patronizing way. I DID NOT like it!! I especially wasn't so thrilled with how they presented women as acting all self-conscientious and seeking others' approval of their appearance to feel validated. I especially didn't like how the songs were mostly about sex and not about love or romance. (Is it so terrible to want a little romance these days??)

Those are definitely NOT female-friendly lyrics! They send the wrong message to young, impressionable girls. Girls who live in a society where the rate of teen pregnancy is off the charts. They should send messages that EMPOWER girls. Inspire them and support them. Not demean them or view them as nothing more than objects of a man's pleasure.

I was so disappointed with the lyrics, I wrote a looong rant about it. Which I turned into an essay. One of my sisters read both the rant and the essay then emailed me back saying, "They're just singing the songs that sell. Look at Justin Timberlake."

Apparently, it's not the New Kids saying "we don't respect women." It's just them singing the kinds of songs that girls OBVIOUSLY are going crazy over! Sigh.

I bring this up because, just as doing what sells happens in the music industry, the same thing goes in the writing industry. A lot of writers are just writing what sells. Ditto with authors. We just....work ourselves into a niche and it's like people EXPECT those kinds of articles from us and those kinds of books.

And once we're in that corner, it's very hard to get out of it.

That is the way it is with me and my writing. I ended up just...writing myself into a niche. What started out as my attempt to understand a topic better by writing about it turned into my "niche" of writing about it. Believe me, I have nothing against writers who are doing this. There is NOTHING wrong with having a niche and writing about the thing you are known for writing about. But, for me, personally, it's not really something my heart is in anymore. I guess you could say I reached a certain "point" with it and I just don't want to be a part of that anymore.

I mean, to be honest, I REALLY want to make more leeway in fiction and get into screenwriting, as well.

It's just hard to break away from it. To break away from what you are known for. I mean, just when I think "I'm going to do it!" I get tapped for an article or approached by someone with something to do with this topic. That stuff doesn't happen by accident, though I realize it could just be what could make me either stand by my decision or just...."go back to what's familiar." I seem to do that a lot.

Maybe one of these days I will be able to break away from my niche. Right now, I can't do that, because I have certain obligations and things I said I would do. But maybe one day, it will tone down and I can focus my energies writing more about other topics and other things. I know some things about my niche are ongoing. Being the way I am, sensitive to those things, that's part and parcel of living this life as a writer. But maybe instead of including them in the writing life, they can just be in "everyday life." I don't ALWAYS have to write about them. Not everything should be written about....and that's why I think I really do need to find a way to move out of the niche I have written myself into. There are other things that ARE worth writing about. Things that have to do with LIFE. Because life is about living, and not just about what's selling.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home