Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realise it’s just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it. D. Sedaris
I have wanted to be a writer since I was in my English Lit class when I was, like, sixteen. As I have mentioned in an earlier blog it was in that class I received an F grade for the first time. It stung. Moreover, it still stings. Since then I have tried to improve my writing with a long and constant effort: not entirely successfully (so far), but mostly I would say it has been worth it. I give a lot of thought to what I write, but it does not always return an equal reward. The fact of the matter is that I am getting better and I have published my first novel. Now, that may seem like a triumph, and it is in a way, but what really counts is the book sales – and writing the next book, of course.
I find selling books a more difficult task than writing. I was advised early on with my writing ambitions that in the modern world of publishing it would be more effective to write and publish my own books – not as a “self-publisher” as such, but rather as a small independent publisher. The world of book publishing is changing. A leaner more focused and flexible approach would be needed if I wanted to find my books on the bestseller lists – never mind my personal goal of seeing what I write translated onto the big screen. Creating my own publishing company was about keeping control, being nimble and quick to respond to the demands and opportunities of the market place.
The Black Sea, my first novel, was a long time in the making. It took years of work – and not to create something anyone would want to call a literary masterpiece, quite the contrary, I consider myself an entertainer. I want to write books for the moment that allow people a moment of escapism – an easy read and a good story. I have not learned enough to even get close to writing a book that would be considered something literary: although it is my ambition to do so one day. That day, however, remains in the distant future as I focus my efforts on writing quality thrillers. Now, my first effort has had some earned some good comments from most people who have read it. And, no, I do not mean from those closest to me: quite the opposite really. Those closest to me have been the hardest on me and thankfully so. I am lucky enough to hear the good, the bad and ugly about my work from those closest to me and inevitably, that makes me want to be a better writer. The people around me have been amazingly supportive in my work but that doesn’t mean they’ve been easy on me.
For some would-be authors, their efforts to become a writer are mocked by those closest to them. Sometimes, because they do not really want to see others succeed or are dealing with their own demons, insecurities or financial pressures. This type of person frequently tries to plant seeds of doubt that often plague, entrepreneurs, actors and other such “dreamers.” However, if you have the right people around you, it is more likely that they want to help – and that is what I have found. I am very lucky in that regard. Not everyone has constructive help and criticism to guide their progress. There are many naysayers out there who will try to hinder you, but the best practice is to listen and reflect on what they say. If you find their comments helpful, take the advice and improve yourself. If it is destructive, ignore it, much as you ignore a wasp or a bee hovering over the food on your table. Do not pay it attention: just allow it to pass through and avoid the sting.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. M. Gandhi