Lots of people want to be writers. I think it probably has a good image. But as with any vocation, it has its downsides as any writer will tell you. By the way, you are a writer if you write, and not only if you get published, but this post will mostly concern the published end of things- which is where much of the trouble resides FYI.
1. Someone once said writing is like bleeding onto paper. You pour yourself out and there it is- black and white blood. A bit of who you are right there for the world to read. Or not. Onto point two.
2. Mostly you will want people to read what you write (if it isn’t a secret diary kind of thing, and even if it is you might want them to read it but just not know it was you that wrote it). Readers can be thin on the ground. You may need tissues at hand when you open that bi-anual sales report. This week I had an email saying that 3500 copies of Cheerful Madness are getting pulped. Which leads us to:
3. Pulping. There are many ways to get pulped. Getting emails like the aforementioned. Sniffy reviews. Doing a book signing and sitting isolated at your table practicing your unwanted signature on your sandwich napkin. Finding a pristine copy of your book in the local charity shop- lovingly signed of course.
4. It isn’t just other people who pulp you. You write against the background drone of your inner critic- “this is terrible, TERRIBLE. A load of self-indulgent, unoriginal, monotonal drivel. And you still can’t spell. Mutter, mutter, mutter.” It never shuts up. But sometimes you can ignore it just enough to write on regardless.
5. When something you do gets slated or rejected or pulped, people can tell you ’til they’re blue in the face that it isn’t personal, but the problem is, it is. It couldn’t be more personal.
6. When something you write goes down well you get proud and cocky (or so I hear). (You can also be a bit falsely modest now and then).
7. Writing does not pay very well, unless you get really famous. And fame has its own issues.
8. Being a writer involves sitting at your lap top typing. Yep. That pretty much sums up what a writer does all day. Or the short productive part of the day anyway- for me, between 10 and 12 am.
So why do we do it? All the pain. So little gain.
That’s a post for another day.
Over and out.