Beethoven’s Hair

On March 26, 1827, Ludwig von Beethoven, only fifty-six years old, lie sick in his bed of. That evening a terrible storm of rain and snow raged over Vienna. Light and sound exuding the storm and stress of the living dynamic, mocked the perishing master. Fluids made his abdomen swell, and his midsection was lanced, so that the water in his belly could drain, and it dripped through the bed and onto the floor. In a final show of defiance, Beethoven sat up in his bed and raised his fist, which was answered with a nearby plummet of lightning and kettle drumming thunder.

As the Master lie in state, people streamed in and out of his bedroom. Everyone wanted to pay their own respects, but someone brought clippers and snipped a lock of his hair. Other trophetiers followed suit, and within hours the dead body of Beethoven lay shorn.

Heirs and collectors still own these lockets, which are certified as authentic. What sort of man he must have been that people clamored for a bit of his hair, not just after he died, but even now today.

When you leave this life behind, will people regard you as one who so impressed the world that such personal relics would become the stuff of frenzy? As fellow writers, I’m not asking if you think you will go on and be thought of as a writer the same way Beethoven was with music. That spot is already taken; it belongs to William Shakespeare. But it is possible to make an indelible mark as a writer on the hearts of your readers, to cut a swath in the lives of people that is you-shaped.

More Than Popularity

This is not just being liked, because popular people can be easily forgotten. What I’m talking about is Respect and Credibility. You may not have a send off like Beethoven and you may not write like Shakespeare, but you can be admired as a writer.

Aristotle wrote about credibility as a means of persuasion (I addressed this recently in another post). We can be serious about our craft and how it image other people’s lives. That kind of writer is taken seriously by is readers. The poplar writer raises a whetted finger to the wind and ends up taking short-cuts that may give him popularity but never longevity.

How To Be Credible

There are definite steps a writer can take that may contribute to his derived sense of respectability. While these are some important paths, they are clearly not the only ones.

  • Write Everyday – We hear it all the time, but writers write every day. You be wearied of this news, like a youngster tired of hearing the same instructions from a parent. Still, it is repeated because many writers do not write every day. If you compose something every day, people will know, both in the elevation of your writing a well in the reports of your constancy.
  • Always Learn – We can always improve. You may get better, you may even become good, but you will never be good enough that you don’t ever have to try harder. One of the best ways a writer can constantly self-improve is to learn all you can from as many sources as you can.
  • Strive for Art – Like paining or musical composition, writing should be artistic. Otherwise what you write is nothing better tan a pastime for your readers. You offer then no real capacity for personal growth. Be an aesthete yourself and write for other aesthetes. You and your audience will be better for it, and you will be kingly admired because of it.
  • Help other Writers – Publishing is a tough racket. It’s hard enough when you have a team, and almost impossible alone. Help other writers and you will be admired for your selflessness and your charity. And who knows, but some of these writers in turn a one day assist you. Now you have the respect of other readers and other writers.
  • Reach out – Like I just said, this is a tough gig. The best writers truly reach out to crate a fanbase. You don’t just throw it on the stoop to see if the at will eat it up. If your readers can tell that you have purposefully courted them, they will this highly of you for that.
  • Create a Quality Product – This goes without saying, but like the Write Every Day mantra, needs to be said. Take your writing serious and people will take you serious. Write and re-write. Push in the scenes ad then pull out the scenes. Have your stuff proofread by everyone from exerts and professionals to old fans and new readers. People will be able to tell if you put in the wrench work, and your credibility as a writer will sparkle because of it.

When you die people will not care about your hair, but they just may admire your books. We should strive for that admirability here and now. If you’re a writer and want to be taken serious, practice what some of this preaches and share this article with other writers. Also, if you can think of great ways to be taken seriously as a writer, let me know about it in the Comment section below.


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