• S.E. Burr

Criminal Networks and Writing Networks

***This blog post contains spoilers of "Mr. Robot."***

I watched the season two finale of "Mr. Robot" the other day, and there's a really powerful scene--great music, great pacing, everything--where you see the FBI's board on the hack from the first season. This is the type of board you see in lots of crime shows. It has pictures of all the suspects and other people somehow involved in the crime and arrows linking the pictures, showing their relationships to each other. Seeing that, all I could think was, "Wow, there are a lot of faces on that board."

I found it oddly inspiring, so much so I took a screen shot of it and set it as the background on my phone. Whatever the rightness or wrongness of the fictional crime F Society pulled off, they changed their world dramatically. No individual person could have accomplished what they did together. And that's the way it always is. We have this myth in our culture and in our history books about certain people who through their own individual greatness made our world what it is today. Whether these people were authors, musicians, politicians, generals, criminals, or a thousand other things, that's almost certainly not how it happened. Almost all the people remembered in history books had a lot of other people who helped them accomplish what they did, people who history has forgotten.

So I raided Facebook for pictures of people and made my own board call "The Conspiracy" with a network of faces and me in the center. I won't show it to you for obvious reasons; it's just for my own inspiration and encouragement. Years ago I heard someone--I'm sorry I can't remember who--say something like, "The biggest predictor of success is a person's ability to inspire others to help them." Hearing that, I thought, "Great, I've never been able to inspire anyone to do anything."

I wrote a previous post about the difficulty I've had finding people to support me in my writing. Lately, though, I feel like that's started to change. Some of the people on my board are people I know personally--I'm in a phenomenal critique group with two amazing women. They're such good writers and just amazing critiquers. They always have such cogent things to say about my writing. Some of the other people on the board I've only met online, if even that. I'm in a Facebook group for authors where I can go for advice and encouragement. I've also hired an organization called Author Platform Rocket to help me build my mailing list. (I got the upload of the first month's sign ups Friday. I was blown away by the open and click rates of the first email I sent to my new subscribers. It's very encouraging. APR is very reasonably priced. If you're looking for ways to promote your own writing you might want to check them out.)

I want to do something great with my writing, something that changes people's lives even if it's only by giving them an escape from their own day-to-day existence. I know that to do that I'll need help, so I'm happy to be in the center of my own conspiracy and I'll continue trying to expand that network by finding new people to conspire with.