After all is said and done, more is said than done. -Aesop
I have always felt the most important part of what I do is, what I do. That is to say, It makes very little difference what I tell you I do. If I claim to be great, better than most, or can run faster, jump higher, or fly straighter. The important part is not what I say, rather what I actually do. This is a longer way of stating the age old phrase; actions speak louder than words. What you do has a stronger impact on people than what you say.
Writing, as in a blog post, novel, poem, or note, carries no action. These are forms of words alone. Yet the impact of writing can be significant. I have come to believe writing, as eloquent as it may be, or as informative as it can be, is still a subset of who a person really is. You do not know a person simply from reading their writings. I do not know Herman Melville, yet I have read Moby Dick. I do not know Nathaniel Hawthorne yet I have read many of his quotes.
Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. -Nathaniel Hawthorne
These thoughts crossed my mind a short while ago due to an email I received. It was one of many marketing emails I receive from places I try to keep current on. This one happened to be from the wordpress theme developer Elegant Themes. I have used Elegant Themes products in the past and am still active on their email list for new and current happenings in all things wordpress.
This email was geared more toward the marketing side of running a business. Whether on-line or brick and mortar. Here’s the headline that caught my attention. ” How Having a Cool Bio for Twitter Can Help You Land More Clients.”
When I read this I done the proverbial head shake. But I knew, it could very well be true. As I read the accompanying post I was not surprised. The headline was not misleading, it was about exactly what the headline said. And that was, have a cool bio and other will want to do business with you. Or, put a slightly different way, if you don’t have a cool bio, you suck. Okay, I supposed that is my sinister take on it, but all the same, the unspoken meaning is there.
I am not a marketer. Though I have been known to try, poorly at times, inconsistently most times, without giving 110% quite frequently, not nearly enough, and on and on. I am not a marketer. I kind of wish I were, and I’m kind of glad I am not. If I was really good at marketing I image it would pay off financially. I also imagine I would be much more like the headline. Striving to look and sound cool. I would appear to be awesome. Why? Because I would say so! Regardless of what my actions were my words would be very very cool. Why would this make me cool? Simple, I would be putting time into writing a cool bio, probably a cool artists statement and super cool about page on my website. I would be focusing on these things instead of focusing on actions. Possibly even to the detriment of becoming a better person, husband, father, friend, or artist. I image these things because I know myself.
There is only so much time and never enough time to be or do everything. So one must choose. Have a cool bio, and then keep trying to convince people of these things. Or, simply be them. Regardless of how cool your bio is. Is that even debatable to some people?
Before anyone thinks why can’t you be both? Why can’t you have it all? It boils down to this. What is all? What is your all? Do you have limits, boundaries, or principles? Do you honestly want it all? Think about that for just a moment. Then remember what you are. Human. We make choices and those choices have consequences. I won’t climb on a podium and preach, but I will say there is a right and wrong here. You can still make your own choice and with that choice you will experience your own consequences.
I want to be better at marketing my work and myself. But the simple fact of the matter is, life gets in the way. When it does, I don’t push it away, I know I must deal with it. If that means less time developing a cool bio and more time developing insightful understanding of myself then so be it. That is my choice. And I am good with it.
You do not write your life with words. . . You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do. –Patrick Ness
Having a cool bio that isn’t comfortable to you, the artist, will be like an ill-fitting suit. It’ll bother you and you’ll have to wear that suit in any future face-to-face meetings that will feel even more uncomfortable. I believe (or have convinced myself) that there are plenty of people out there that are just as uncool as I am and appreciate an honest, un-gilded bio.
Well said Joseph.