Last week, Maureen Johnson posted a Manifesto that took the writing world by storm. Some people agreed with her that writers shouldn’t only be a “brand” and others disagreed. I think I’m somewhere in the middle myself – I can see the value of an author brand, but like Maureen, I don’t like the implication that I must be limited by that brand.
But reading her blog, as well as several others I recently stumbled upon, I’ve noticed that Manifestos are becoming really popular. Everyone – blogger, writer, artist, social media guru – seems to have their own manifesto, their own blueprint for how they intend to live their lives or run their business. And that got me thinking (always a dangerous thing). Do I have a manifesto? And do I even need one? What is the purpose of having one?
Just to make sure I was on the right track, I looked up the definition. Manifesto: a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives, as one issued by a government, sovereign, or organization.
So basically, it’s a way to let others know what your beliefs and intentions are. I’m not sure how I feel about that. As a private person, I feel that my beliefs and opinions are my own. But now that there’s so much interconnectivity due to the Internet, social media, blogs, etc, is there such a thing as privacy? By writing anything and posting it on the Internet, you’re already implying a belief or opinion about something. Wouldn’t it be better for people to know for sure what your objectives or motives are, rather than assuming them?
And, even more, does creating a manifesto somehow create a “brand”? You’re limiting yourself to a certain extent by defining your beliefs and objectives.
I don’t really have the answers right now, but I’m definitely going to be thinking more about this. Do you think an author needs a manifesto? Is it helpful to know someone’s beliefs and views on life? Or is it something we should stay away from?