Logos, Pathos, and Aramis -- I mean, Ethos!
It's funny what we think we know. Logic can serve us well, or, if imperfect, it can lead us far off the path we wish to tread.
My own logic, for example, is almost comically imperfect.
Pathos, Logos, and Aramis -- I mean Ethos -- are the three pillars of critical thought. In order, they mean emotional, logical, and athoritic (athoritical? Authority..cal? Hmm...) proof. In other words, we use these three tools to prove something is true in academic study. Personally, I'm stronger in pathos than the others, though I absolutely understand the importance of ethos -- trusting authorities who have done a ton more research and work in an area than I have. Sometimes these pillars can be abused, such as when a crooked politician uses ethos and pathos alone to convince the masses he's correct, or, in my case, when only logos is used... and the logic is flawed.
I am a kinesthetic learner. That means I have to actually do something to understand it. If you just tell me or show me, I'm not going to retain anything. I've known this ever since 6th grade, when I was invited to the "smart" kids' school because my best friend went there and they had a bring-a-friend day. I did such a great job that the teacher was confused as to why I wasn't enrolled. She even called up my regular teacher to ask. The reason? I made D's and C's. The "smart" kids made A's. Funny thing was, if I had gone to the "smart" school, I would have made A's because they taught kinestheticly, as opposed to the "regular" school that taught exactly the way I didn't learn. The "smart" school teacher understood this and got angry, but there was nothing she could do. I continued to go to the school that was wrong for me simply because I couldn't do well enough there to go to the one that was right.
Frustrating, but I learned an important lesson -- I wasn't stupid, just different.
I used that lesson through middle and high school, and while I didn't get perfect grades, I did okay for myself. College and graduate school were even better. I learned what I wanted, how I wanted, earning my Bachelor's as valedictorian and my Master's with a 4.0. You'd think I'd remember all that as I continued to learn after school.
Yeah... not so much.
As you know if you've been reading my blog (and thank you if you have!) I've been going through a new adventure lately, trying to learn how to sell my books and get myself into the industry as a viable (read: respected by my colleagues) author. Now, my logos thinking told me there were logical steps to take to go about this that made sense. They were, in order:
Write the book
Edit the book
Publish the book
Tell people about the book online
Wait for people to read the book and thus, care about it
When the people cared about the book, then they would come to the website, watch the videos, buy the next book, etc.
So, logically the LAST steps would be to:
Finish the website
Write Facebook posts, Tweets, etc. to an audience that's already there because they already care about the book
Keep posting videos, again for an audience that's already there because they already care about the book
This made sense to me. I was using logos, after all. LOGIC! The ONE of the three pillars of critical thinking that NEVER LETS YOU DOWN.
Turns out, I'm not even part Vulcan.
Another part of my logic was that writing anything about... well... writing... on here would be pointless, considering how many other writing blogs are out there covering the exact same thing. Pointless, redundant, and a waste of my time to tell people what everyone else has already told them a million times.
All this, of course, flew in the face of what everyone was telling me. I have friends in the industry who I love and respect beyond this world: published authors, agents, editors. All of them have given me advice. I can imagine how many authors like me -- unpublished in trade but wanting to be, unagented, unable to write full-time -- would kill to be in my place. People pay good money just to sit with an agent or editor for a few minutes, and here I had them as friends, telling me what I needed to do in everyday conversation... for free! But I blew off that coveted advice.
Blew it off! Why?
Because to me, it wasn't logical.
This brings us back to the way I learn. They told me things. I didn't get it. They showed me things. I didn't understand. I argued because it didn't make sense that anyone who hadn't even read the book would care to follow me, watch my videos, go to my websites, etc. Why would they? What would be their motive if not to learn more about books they already liked? This was LOGICAL dangit!
But I had forgotten two vital things about myself:
Logos is not my strength.
I learn by doing.
Lately, I have begun to dip my toes into the "illogical" waters of my friends' advice. I'd like to say I came to my senses, but to be honest it was more of a pathos response. In other words, I was discouraged by the results of my own logos-fuled decisions. So, begrudgingly ("it doesn't make SENSE dangit!") I turned to ethos, and finally listened to the authorities who had been trying to teach me all along. What was that advice?
Act like I already have an audience, and they will come.
But, as illogical as that seems to me, the results, though small at this moment, have been a lot more encouraging even within the first day or two, than in months of following my own logic. I have been building up my Facebook page (which is now monetized... WHAT???) and my website here (which is why I have been updating this very blog as well), and it's gone far better than I would have imagined. Have I sold a lot of books? Not even a little, I'm afraid. Have I caught the eye of an agent or publisher? Nope. But that doesn't really matter right now, because I'm doing it. Better than I ever have before.
I'm doing it, and thus learning how. This is my strength. I can't forget that.
Still doesn't make any freaking sense though. Grumble...