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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

The Pros and Cons Of Being A Writer - Part One

The reality of being a writer is usually far from what people expect.

Generally, people assume that it's a glamorous job, that my days are filled with excitement, my evenings star-studded. 

It's seldom like that. For me, anyway.

The path to being published or produced is a hard and rocky one. There is more rejection than acceptance, and there are times when you will want to quit, and times when the idea of quitting seems impossible. The publishing industry is a hard nut to crack and the TV and film industry is a daunting thing to attempt to infiltrate.

And I choose my words carefully. There are helpful people in  these industries but there are also many who will rip you or your idea off, at the slightest opportunity. 

Most days, you will tread the slim line between quitting and persevering at least forty or fifty times... depending on what your latest review has come back saying; whether your agent is free to take your call or not; and generally, whichever way the wind is blowing...

From this, I think you will get my point. In an up and down world, being a writer is one of the most fragile of mindsets you can possible hold and not go totally insane (if you're lucky, and if you have people at your side to hold your feet on the ground).

So let's take each point one at a time. 

DREAM  - well you'll have plenty of those. Both in the sense of actual sleeping dreams and hopes and aspirations. 

Of the actual sleeping dreams, expect these to be peppered with all your fears and anxieties, not only about your own life, but about everything and everyone you encountered that particular day. 

My dreams are so vivid that often I wake up, convinced that the world really has been taken over by aliens; that I can fly; that I did win the lottery; that I've entered another reality… etcetera, etcetera...

These dreams have to be taken with a pinch of salt, and unfortunately, although they might have seemed riveting when your unconscious brain was rolling them out on the widescreen of your sleeping inner mind, they will be so riddled with plot holes and weird inconsistencies, that there's no way they will make interesting books or films. 

So dreams are not the lazy way into writing. 

As for the sorts of dreams that are hopes and aspirations… well these can also be problematic. 

It's possible that you will be  a billionaire upon the launch of your first book. Possible - but highly unlikely. 

What you might be, is a few pounds better or worse off, depending on your publishing situation. 

Readers will not flock to your door, demanding more of the same... indeed your readers many not even leave you a review, even if they loved your book. 

That is of course, assuming that any readers manage to stumble upon your book in the first place. There are now millions of books for sale on Amazon, with the growing popularity of the idea  that everyone has at least one book in them. 

You can call me a pessimist if you like, but I stand by my belief that there are many people who don't even have one book in them, let alone more. 

And why should they? We are all different and  our experiences within life are all different, ergo why should we all  have the same story telling skill?

So when it comes to hopes and aspirations, being grounded is the key. 

If you want to write, you must ask yourself why. And you must be truthful in your answer. 

If it's to get famous, then forget it. If it's to give yourself enjoyment and perhaps spread that enjoyment to others, then maybe test the waters. But don't ask your family's opinion of anything you write. They love you, so can't be objective. 

If, on the other hand, stories and characters burn bright inside your mind, then you really have no choice but to write and let them out. 

So, before you put pen to paper, think hard - it may just save your sanity!

Next time we'll cover Not A Real Job, and Connecting With Others. 

Happy reading! x

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