Thursday, September 30, 2010

Guest Post: Scott Nicholson - Who Scott Thinks He Is

Who do I think I am?
Scott Nicholson

One of the jobs of the tour is to show “Scott Nicholson,” the human being. Some writers tweet every drunken binge, every divorce, every rejection, and every time they take the cat to the vet.

I’ve always been guarded about my personal life, and in some ways I’ve cultivated a certain aloofness. The bio link on my Web site used to say “Who Scott Thinks He Is,” a clear distancing mechanism that let people know my third-person bio was carefully crafted to present a certain image.

I’m not sure it’s served me well, especially in the “social media” era when it’s so easy for us to make connections. I’ve opened up a little more as I’ve come to realize that being a writer is a core part of my existence, and it can’t really be separated out from the rest of my life.

Truth is, a writer’s life is pretty boring, unless we’re getting drunk and shooting ourselves in the head, or else we’re important enough to dis Oprah and have people actually notice. But I’m okay with a boring life, because mine is an internal life of reflection, not high-stakes adventure or around-the-clock thrills.

I’m a newspaper reporter in my day job, since I’ve not yet achieved the wild wealth and fame sure to follow as a result of the Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour. We’re a small community paper that comes out three times a week, with a staff of two reporters. It’s a great job that affords me a lot of flexibility and allows me to meet a lot of different types of people in all sectors of society. It beats the heck out of working.

When I’m not on the job, I spend a lot of time writing, and this year a good bit of time promoting my books. The digital era and taking responsibility for finding my audience means I have to stay creative and keep building if I want my words to matter. Because they don’t matter until someone reads them.

But I also believe in a simple existence, as befitting my Taoist principals. I don’t have any debt besides the house payment, and I almost always pay extra to chip down the mortgage, because that’s my main financial goal right now.

I love my garden, though this year I neglected it in favor of my digital empire. My garden is about a sixth of an acre, and it’s entirely organic and I use only heirloom seeds. One of my old-age projects is to sell and save heirloom seeds and develop strains that do well in our cool, damp climate. I like the excuse to be outdoors, and I’ve learned a lot by paying attention to the natural cycles both above and below the ground.

I have two chickens. I had 14 at one time, but when I was away on honeymoon, many were carried off. Two is just about right for eggs, but I will probably add one more.

I’ve had goats before, but they always broke into the house and destroyed things, or got outside and tore up the fruit trees. I am developing an oasis in my Blue Ridge Mountain hollow, planting cherries, blueberries, gooseberries, pears, apples, paw paws, cranberries, Japanese wineberries, raspberries, strawberries, plums, and Arctic kiwis. We can a lot of our own food, and I cut firewood for our woodstove.

Part of the plan is to pay off the house, be sustainable, and be able to live on less money instead of worrying about “More, more, more.” Then I can write without so much of the commercial pressure that keeps people from their dreams. I used to draw and paint, and I will return to those pursuits when I retire. We want to travel some, but we already go to the coast several times a year, so aside from some overseas trips, I don’t feel like I am missing much.

I already feel like I am “living the dream.” From time to time I will be out in the garden, and I’ll say, “Hmm, even if I had that big movie deal, I’d still be right out here anyway.” I guess that part of wanting to get rich selling books is already taken care of. I don’t measure success as a quantity anymore, though it’s tempting when you can check your sales numbers, ranking, and all the other competitive lists out there.

I measure success as quality. I tell stories. I live well. I try not to hurt anyone, and I follow a practice of compassionate self-reliance–take care of myself and do just a little extra for the person out there who can’t do that.

Not so spectacular, not so romantic, not so extraordinary. It’s who I think I am.


Scott Nicholson is author of The Skull Ring, Speed Dating with the Dead, Drummer Boy, and nine other novels, five story collections, four comics series, and six screenplays. A journalist and freelance editor in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, he often uses local legend in his work. This tour is sponsored by Amazon, Kindle Nation Daily, and Dellaster Design.

To be eligible for the Kindle DX, simply post a comment below with contact info. Feel free
to debate and discuss the topic, but you will only be entered once per blog. Visit all the blogs on
the tour and increase your odds. I’m also giving away a Kindle 3 through the tour newsletter and
a Pandora’s Box of free ebooks to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. And, hey, buy my
books and put me in the Top 100 and I’ll throw in another random Kindle 3 giveaway. Thanks for
playing. Complete details at


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