Archive | 1:56 pm

The Pig on a Leash

9 May

Let me share you two stories about pigs, both involving my dad.

The first one took place when I was maybe twelve or thirteen.  Dad and I went to a Tacoma Giants baseball game on sunny Sunday afternoon.  The Giants were the Triple A farm club for the San Francisco Giants at that time, and they played at Cheney Stadium.  There was some great baseball played in that stadium back in the early 60’s, and my dad and I always enjoyed a trip to the ballpark.

So we arrived at the park, bought a couple hotdogs, and went up the stairs to find our seats.  We were walking down the aisle, I looked up, and I saw a guy walking a pig on a leash down the aisle coming towards us.  This wasn’t a potbellied pig but rather a full-sized monster, probably at least 500 pounds, and he was trailing poop behind him.  My dad and I looked at each other, but we simply couldn’t find any words that seemed appropriate.  We laughed for days about that.

To this day that’s still one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen….the context was just all wrong, you know?  It also serves as a strange reminder for me to always leave my readers with a sense of awe after they read one of my books or stories.  My job, as a fictional writer, is to capture my readers and to touch their senses through my words.  So I thank that guy, and that pig, for the early lesson.

NOT SO MUCH A STORY AS A LESSON

The other “pig-related” item I wanted to mention was an old saying my dad was fond of.  He used to say “you can put a dress on a pig, but you still won’t have a date for the prom.”  It’s been sixty years since I first heard him say that and I still laugh when I think of it.

What’s the point?  What in the world does that have to do with writing?

Now this is just my opinion, and considering the fact that in 1975, a guy by the name of Gary Dahl, sold a whole bunch of pet rocks, maybe my opinion is worthless, but it seems to me that you can dress up a product in a pretty marketing dress, but if that product is crap, you won’t be selling too many of them.

As writers, we are constantly barraged by articles about guerilla marketing, and social media marketing, and how to best market our product . .. but not enough is said about making our product high-quality.  If our writing is poor, we simply will not sell many of our articles or books.

Let’s put a ribbon on this and be done with it:  you should concentrate, first and foremost, on the quality of your writing. In the final analysis, producing a great article, or book, will be the best advertising you will ever do.  Don’t waste too much money, or effort, in sewing a dress for a pig.

WRAP UP

Two lessons from pigs, both timely and relevant for writers; I hope you got something out of them.

Have a great week of writing!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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