To Be A Writer

Book Promo Days

Two things.  First, I’ll be abbreviating Book Promotion Day to Book Promo Day – and yes, I’m going to leave out the apostrophe!  I know it’s the wrong thing to do, but it suits me in this case.  I’m sorry of I upset any apostrophe lovers out there.  Second, a reminder that you need to get your submissions in by 9pm BST (British Summer Time) on a Wednesday!  Remember – this is free advertising!

To Be A Writer

I was asked, recently, to write a recommendation for a fellow author, on LinkedIn.  Now I would normally refuse such a request, unless I knew their work, had worked with them or knew them personally, rather than through the internet.  On this occasion, however, the request got me thinking.  Those thoughts are given below.

It only takes a whim to want to right a book, or say you would like to.  It takes far more to actually write a book!  And writing is far from the end of the affair.  Tenacity, emotional strength and faith in yourself are essential.  Without them, a book remains a pile of paper or a computer file, never seeing the light of day.  That a person has the three essentials should tell you much about them!  There’s something else that’s true of many writers – they’re chasing a dream, often one that they have held for many years.  That puts an enormous burden of desire on them.  I say ‘many writers’ because there are writers less interested in the written word than in the profit it could bring them.  Particularly since the internet came into being, the world has been subjected to a constant stream of books about how to make huge sums of money, achieve every dream you could possibly hold (including some you never knew you had), become the epitome of ‘the body perfect’, cure every disease known to Man (and then some) and various other such matters.  It seems that we could cure the world of all its ills and create a perfect species out of ourselves, if only we would read, and follow the advice of, these hundreds,or thousands, of books!  Of course, there’s really one objective in the vast majority of these writer’s minds: making a fortune for themselves.

On a personal level, I admit to being a dreamer.  I have been since before I discovered the need to write.  A fairly solitary child in much of my play activities, absolutely anything could be imbued with a being.  I had a large number of toy soldiers, from the delightfully numerous 1/72nd scale sets to the ordinary large, moulded plastic, toys.  Despite this, I was too young to enjoy how long it took to move them for battles.  As a result, nearly every battle my ‘puppets’ were involved in didn’t actually feature the toy soldiers at all.  Instead, I would divide my excellent collection of marbles into two armies.  Oh, how wonderfully swiftly they could move!  Outdoors, in the seemingly endless heat of summer, I would occupy a very small patch of grass in the back garden.  This had suffered, at some time, from being waterlogged, so that it was more patches and tussocks of grass than a lawn.  The hard, clay soil that existed between the grassy patches (and there many of them, all interconnected) made wonderful roads for my toy cars to use.  Now, my Dad is an accomplished gardener (he and his brother once worked for themselves as landscape gardeners) and always took a pride in the garden looking good, with neat lawns beautifully mowed and clipped.  Seeing me play as I did on this scrap of grass, though, he never did anything to make it fit the character of a lawn, however small.  There were many times that my imagination did more to occupy me than the toys I had at my disposal.  When I discovered writing what I wanted to write, the consequences were inevitable!

At school, like all pupils, I was required to write essays.  I admit that my work was far from satisfactory to my teachers!  Very early on, I discovered that I just couldn’t write anything of any worth about a subject I had no feeling for.  Sadly, that was most of the time.  But, there were a few rare occasions when a subject caught my imagination or interest, and I would then write and write and write!  The customary barely filled one side of paper I handed in would now be sheet after sheet, though the longer I wrote, the worse my handwriting got, as excitement drove me on.  Eventually, I encountered an English teacher who recognised what was happening, and encouraged the creative spark, rather than trying to quench it as all others before had done.

Does this mean, then, that writing is painless and without effort for me?  Far from it!  There’s a very real pain involved in not writing, for one thing.  There’s also a feverishness involved in writing, something that’s capable of burning you up, driving you to utter exhaustion.  Even without deadlines, there come times when you just have to finish a part of your story.  Then there are those frustrating times when the words just don’t come, or are unsatisfactory.  There are moments when a word insists on being repeated too often and that wonderful thesaurus in your head refuses to help correct the situation, so you end up poring over a printed version to find much needed alternatives.  And that’s just the beginning!  When you write that last word and sit back, spent but happy, you have only a brief time to enjoy the accomplishment.  The rereading, editing, rewriting and such must begin.  And if you decide to go for publication… oh, the headaches are innumerable!

So can a writer recommend another writer, who they don’t know?  The answer is yes.  To a degree, that is.  You can write a recommendation that never actually addresses the questions of how good a writer is, or how well they may adhere to deadlines, or what kind of person they are.  It’s perfectly possible to write a recommendation that is based on the general character of any writer – on what it takes to be a writer.

~ Steve

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About Steve

An author since the age of 13 years, writing again dominates my activities. My "Imagineer-ing" blog is my primary site. Also: Beginner knitter since November 2010. Favourite knitting techniques: cable and lace. Beginner cross stitcher. Beginner jewellery maker. With the promotion of self publication and all the other work that has been going on here, Dad decided around 2am this morning (22/11/2013) that it was time to begin his next adventure. He was seen off earlier the previous evening by myself, my brother, my sister in law, and my sister, as well as his wife (our mum), and an enigmatic being known only as A Lorraine. After this time of story telling, laughing, crying, joking and mickey taking, we saw how tired both mum and dad were, and we decided to leave them under the (sometimes) gentle care of The Lorraine. When Dad found the timetable for his travels, he let Mum know gently, which woke her from her drowsing, then, with the same gentleness he showed in this universe, he boarded his favourite mode of transport, the Interdimensional Steam Train, and set off with a smile and a wave. For those of us closest, that smile was a reminder that his pain has ended, and the wave, an indicator that he will pop in to all those that knew him, from time to time. Usually at the most inconvenient and in opportune moments he can. While we are sad that he is no longer here, we are happy he now has no pain, and is experiencing more extraordinary things that his writers mind will be frantically weaving into a new story. Posted by Son Damien

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