Ovid was a Roman poet around the turn of the 1st century AD. In 8 AD Ovid was banished from Rome by the Emperor Augustus himself for writing poetry that was not only considered extremely erotic for the time, but he also had the unfortunate timing to publish one of these poems when the Emperor was dealing with his own family crisis.
The Emperor’s grandchildren, Agrippa Postumus and Julia the Younger, were banished around the time of his banishment; Julia’s husband, Lucius Aemilius Paullus, was put to death for conspiracy against Augustus, a conspiracy about which Ovid might have known. The Julian Marriage Laws of 18 BC, which promoted monogamous marriage to increase the population’s birth rate, were fresh in the Roman mind. Ovid’s writing in the Ars Amatoria concerned the serious crime of adultery, and he may have been banished for these works which appeared subversive to the emperor’s moral legislation. However, because of the long distance of time between the publication of this work (1 BC) and the exile (8 AD), some authors suggest that Augustus used the poem as a mere justification for something more personal.
Whatever the justification for the banishment, Ovid quickly found out that writing poetry, cast away from the “civilized” world of Rome and forced to live with “barbarians” who were not only mostly illiterate, but had no desire for Ovid’s brand of poetry, was akin to “dancing in the dark”.
“or that writing a poem you can read to no one is like dancing in the dark.”
— Ovid (The Poems of Exile: Tristia and the Black Sea Letters)
Write with Confidence and Passion
The one thing all successful writers have in common is confidence. Self-confidence is one of the hardest and most intangible goals a successful author can reach. Sure, with every artists there are lingering self-doubts and questions about their talent, but when it comes to talking about and pitching their published works there is no trace of that.
One of the best ways to be gain confidence about what you are writing is to write about something you are passionate about it. If you’re trying to phone-it-in on a subject you either don’t care about or aren’t really informed about you can be sure that will come across in your writing.
Don’t Be Afraid to Market Yourself
If you’re writing about something you have knowledge of and have vetted your work and are confident in what you have to say you can be sure that there are a lot of people out there looking for the information you’re providing.
This doesn’t mean go around spamming your posts indiscriminately but if you can find someone who is genuinely looking for answers that you know you have already provided don’t be afraid to give them some words of advice and let them know that this is a subject you’re familiar with and if they’re interested they can read more.
You may be the most well-informed writer on a subject out there but if you don’t find a way to get people to see your work, to understand what you’re trying to say, you can have all the passion and knowledge in the world and you’ll still find yourself dancing in the dark.