Punk Rock & Fashion

‘Dead where we stand; yet you concern yourself with such things as your status and what’s in fashion.’
– Keith Buckley

Ever noticed how we tend to focus on the unimportant? We spend more time fretting over how we’re dressed when we should care about telling our family we love them. We worry about working tirelessly at a job we hate rather than searching for something that makes us happy. And we focus so often on the future or the mistakes of the past that we forget to live in the present. We care so much about our online presence and how many followers we have yet we couldn’t give a shit about the man or woman standing beside us who is desperate to feel loved.

We are so concerned with being in fashion that we forget to be human. Then, when we become that man or woman who needs to feel an authentic human connection, we fail to comprehend how we can have thousands of followers, yet struggle to find a true friend. It’s as though all of these wonderful applications we’ve created to bring us closer together have in fact pushed us further apart then ever before. Your friends look so close when they are displayed on an illuminated screen in the palm of your hands. But when you dare to look up you realize that they’re all so far away.

We care so much about our online presence that we are never really present. Relationships falter; dreams die, and lives are lived unfulfilled because we’ve grown so accustomed to presenting an illusion of happiness and success that we’ve forgotten how to truly be so. We’ve become brands. All of us. Whether you like it or not you are a product that is marketed every single day through the hashtags you use, tweets you post, or pictures you upload. We pin things to a board, or use a repost application to show that we give a shit about a cause. We’re walking human highlight reels, yet so many of us are lost, tired and alone.

As a writer in this modern era of technology and online profiles it’s more important than ever to market yourself. Every day I’m asked what my Twitter handle is, how many followers I have on Pinterest, or Facebook, or Instagram, or a half dozen apps I’ve never even heard of. I’m told that I should be constantly marketing myself, or networking with different groups. I should be uploading a never-ending stream of posts so that my friends and followers never lose interest in what I am producing. In fact, many writers and social media gurus believe that I should be climbing through your screen and force-feeding you post after post until you’re choking on the words of a world eater.

But I disagree. To answer the questions above: I don’t have twitter. I have zero Pinterest followers, a Facebook page that is largely abandoned, and an Instagram account with a limited number of followers. Why? Because rather than force-feed people an endless stream of moderately legible (and largely unintelligent) bullshit, I’d rather craft posts with meaning and become successful in my own right. Society has become so lost in its own desperate attempt to be in fashion that it can’t even see that good artists, musicians, writers and humans are dying in its arms while it worries how it will be judged in the eyes of others. Neglect kills creativity. But it can be reborn again through the admiration of a single man, woman, or child.

A few followers have recently told me that I am rebellious and the idea has really stuck. My siblings and I have always had a saying when we admire a musician, writer or artist. We smirk at one another and call them punk rock. We admire that the art they create is raw. Great artists aren’t concerned with being in style or fashionable. They’re too busy creating trends all of their own. No best selling author has ever accomplished such a feat by imitation. Innovation creates success, wins hearts and achieves dreams. So if refusing to be just another writer, questioning everything and trying over and over to free my mind and revolutionize myself and my work is rebellious, then so be it. If that makes my work a little bit raw and a little bit punk rock than I couldn’t be happier.

If you gave me a choice right now between standing before a thousand people who knew my name and were loosely interested in my work, or ten people who believed in me enough to cause an uprising I would take the latter in a heartbeat. In a world where everyone seems concerned with numbers of followers and carving out an illusion of success and happiness, the truly successful learn to differentiate. As a writer and as a man it’s more important than ever to focus not on amassing multitudes of people who pass by your book or website on a daily basis, but in creating amazing content to capture the hearts and minds of those who take the time to read, listen, or watch what you have produced.

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

53 thoughts on “Punk Rock & Fashion”

  1. It is possible that the ‘thousand people’ could be your best audience – ever.
    It’s easy to be intense before you get your Bachelors degree.
    Afterwards, all audiences have potential.
    I going with a little bit punk rock.

  2. I don’t write books but create jewelry and write sometimes about personal development when I have the abundance. Even inside jewelry there are a lot of names for fx a bracelet, as I don’t know what is, but I survive and create what I feel for.
    You are very right, the souls as we can give a real hug, we may never forget 😉

  3. I know for me, I just want my writing out there being read. It’s nice to see the follower’s numbers climb… but then I wonder how many of them really follow me and read my stuff on a regular basis, and how many just hit follow hoping I’ll check them out and follow them too… I also try to create quality content and only post when I have something to say vs posting just to post. But I am all about the human connection – just went out last night with a friend and we literally spent four hours just talking, it was wonderful 🙂

    …that being said, I appreciate seeing writers like yourself consistently liking my posts. I may only have a smallish following, but I feel successful when people I consider good writers like my stuff… or someone comments that I touched/helped them.

    Keep up the good work.

    1. “Social Media”. It’s almost an oxymoron, isn’t it? Here is Facebook’s definition of itself: “Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them.” I must be weird because I like being disconnected, especially from “others who work, study and live” around me. Anyway, interesting writing.

  4. What’s odd is so many people feel this sense of emptiness from commoditized media and consumerism, but continue to consume as if it will fill the hole. Keep putting out real content and ignore the mass produced crap people cram down your throat

  5. I’ll take the 10 every time. Hell, I’ll take the 1. They don’t have to initiate an uprising, although that would be fun. The 1 who takes the time to truly support you makes all the difference. Ignore the posers, focus on quality, and cross your fingers…

  6. Saving to reread when I feel better. I have way to many so called friends on FB. Sad thing is, I am seldom on there any more. They just keep coming. I couldn’t tell you how many followers I have elsewhere because I really don’t check.
    I post what I want to when I want to or at least when I am feeling good.
    I savor the time when hubby is home. Usually.
    Am often lonely. Not sure why because I never use to be.
    Not sure why I took the time to comment here. It just felt right.

  7. To be perfectly honest, I looked at your blog because my notifications let me know you liked my post. Your post is a beautiful post and it really speaks to me where I am at right now. Thank you

  8. Such mature sentiments coming from one so young. You have a sensible and accurate perspective of life. Its easy to be dragged in with the tide but difficult to put your foot down keep your stand. You seem to have done it. Do keep on pursuing what is right for you and i am sure it will see you through. A very timely write. God bless you.

  9. What a wonderful essay expressing exactly how I feel…thank you so much. I often wonder on social media about those who gather 2,450 “friends” …how intimate can that really be??? I’d rather have 10 good friends for sure. As a writer I have also learned that most out there do not read blogs, except other bloggers and so for me, I have come to realize that I write for me, because I must ferret out truth and spread beauty. Thank you so much for the thoughts in this post!

  10. I enjoyed reading this blog to the very end. In the end it is the values we have created that we remember and the values we were to others that really kept us going. This blog was of value to me in the middle of the night while I was awake.

  11. IMO, the difference between a thousand follower and a ten who focus on what you write, is similar with difference between the ordinary members and premium members of a club. Thank you for visiting my blog, Chris.

  12. Initially I came by your page just as a courtesy to “like” one of your posts and move on. Then I started reading this post not quite sure what to expect based on the title and I’m glad I read it. I share your sentiments and I don’t think I could’ve communicated this any better. Thanks for the sharing your thoughts.

  13. I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t have a Twitter, Instagram, and whatever-that-is Pinterest. (I’ve heard people talking about it and I still haven’t bothered to find out what it is.)

    But you should respond to your comments. Just as a common courtesy. And I know you hate to market yourself, but it’d be nice if you connected with your readers.

  14. The word I was looking for is “engaged.” You should engage more with us. Just saying. Fan mail, dude. Who doesn’t like that? I’m the kind of person who would respond to every fan mail, because who doesn’t like to receive a response?

    1. Yes, definitely nice to receive responses. I’d imagine it would be hard to keep up the more comments/followers one has… but I try to respond to all the comments and emails I get. Like you said, just common courtesy.

  15. It’s definitely a strange one, as a writer myself I know the satisfaction that you get when someone reads, likes or comments on your work. Something that you made from nothing, has helped to entertain someone, or show them something. I absolutely agree on the people who believe in you being more important. I’m a very small blog in its first month (I write poetry and short stories mainly) but I’ve already met some incredible people who I know would support my work, and they’re so appreciated. Fellow writers who comment on my work, or even just like it, gives me such a feeling of satisfaction especially if I really enjoy their own works. In other aspects in my life, I’m very confident (over-confident more often than not) but with my writing I feel like I want validation, maybe because I feel as a ‘new’ writer that I shouldn’t be allowed to post up work, as others have been writing for years and have so much more experience. I dont know your post really has made me think a lot about stuff. Quality read, I’ve followed 🙂

  16. Refreshing! Unfortunately the devil does wear Prada and God only knows what else. Creativity and ingenuity will always create a following regardless of Twitter, Instagram, and all the others. I was also told to get myself “out there” namely Facebook, and Pinterest and I did. Well it is hard to keep up with all that if one is going to produce and create the stuff that counts. I definitely follow far more people that I am followed. I too want the “ten people who believe in me enough to cause an uprising” rather than hundreds who do not know or want to know my soul. Thanks for an honest post and happy writing or blogging. Thanks also for stopping by Poemattic.

  17. Hi, I actually came across to see/stalk who liked my post! Lol
    Low and behold I find a part of all of us in your post. I actually stopped bogging for a while to get back to real life. But, once a blogger I suppose always a blogger and therefore I find myself back reading posts such as yours. Knowing ones soul can take a great deal of time. Hugs from Perth. Paula x

  18. So true, Chris. Except when you said no author ever gets a best seller by immitation ’50 Shades of Grey’ immediately came to my mind as one that does not follow this rule (however crap it is). So maybe no piece of great literature can be created by immitation?

  19. You handle a very important subject here; and do so very well. I congratulate you. Having followers and readers can be very thrilling but it is better when they are real and not fake followers.

  20. I don’t know whether you’ll read this or not, but I’d like to thank you for stopping by my blog from time to time. It makes a difference to know someone is looking and, I assume, reading. I’m not on any other social media than this.

    I find writing my life is the most rewarding kind of writing I’ve ever done in my life. I have followers and I have regular visitors and commenters. If no one read and commented, I would still write, but it wouldn’t be nearly as rewarding.

    Thanks for your perspective on all this. I’m glad to be who I am–not a child of instant texting and media frenzy. In many ways I can’t relate to your generation. But I do know long-lasting relationships matter, especially when they become two-way conversations about things that matter.


  21. Blogging for the past 4 1/2 years without intent of generating an audience (other than my family, for whom I write more legibly on-line than with a pen), I’ve been suprised at the handful of regular readers and commenters whom I have met. Another handful read regularly, but do not commnet, as they prefer to remain behind the scenes of the cyber universe. However, we converse in person. Many others come and go from my blog with questable attention (I doubt that anyone can Like something 30 seconds after I posted it, with any thoughtful reading). I usually respond to those who dropped by, then wait to see whether they return…

  22. You wrote what was in my mind! I abandoned social media long time back because I realized that people started thinking that the only way to communicate was to click that “Like” button as if that was a way to say Hi!! There was no personal touch! And people started wanting everyone to look at them.
    You wrote exactly what the world has come to now!

  23. I love your take on this. Your writing style is very engaging – I found myself drawn into it immediately. Ah-mazing 😊

  24. Well said. One of the reasons I like the blogosphere is the scope it gives for creativity, which means there is so much unique and interesting content, it’s not just memes being endlessly reposted ( fun tho they may be).

  25. Wells had it right, everyone always thinks Wells = Big Brother, but there was something more subtle he predicted, how to keep us all involved and therefore not thinking for ourselves.
    Thanks for your visit Chris.

  26. This was the most interesting thing I’ve read all day. Thank you for being uncut and raw, we need it once in a while. And you are so right.

  27. All of my yes. It is awesome to see more people on thinking about the quality of connection rather than the quantity of connection that social networking has perpetuated for the last decade.

  28. As I read your writing it reminded me so much if myself. I may post something but it is how I feel and instead of bottling up my emotions this is my out. How many times I remind my children I don’t care what I look like walking outside, I don’t care if I wear makeup. If someone does not like me for me than I really have no need to know them. This is me and I once made a status, “quality of friends by far is more important to me than the quantity of friends”. – jessika

  29. Thank you for this post. As a “struggling” writer I hate how I feel I’m forced to participate in online platforms that aren’t me. It’s such a struggle and I finally decided I’d do the things that feel important to me (my blog mostly). Thank you so much for putting into words how I’ve been feeling.

  30. So true! This message needs to be shared. We have lost ourselves and authentic communication through social media. It can be a great tool to share but we just need to remember to look up and truly see each other and our hearts sometimes

  31. I do personally agree with you but it is very difficult to think this way when the world says otherwise. When the most “important”/ famous or seemingly likable people have all the followers and legions of friends, is that not what we are meant to aspire to? I have a hard time accepting that my own views are more important to me than the world’s.

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