Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Are they mad?

According to a recent YouGov poll, more people want to be an author than any other profession.

Don't they know how hard it is?
Don't they know they'd be letting themselves in for a lifetime of anxious waiting for someone to pass judgment on them?

(If they're unpublished, this will be an agent.
If they've got that far, this will be a commissioning editor at a publishing house.
If the editor likes their work, this will be the marketing and sales depts.
If they achieve the elusive deal and their book is published, this will be reviewers.
And so it goes on ...)

And don't they know that if they do get the deal, they themselves will be expected to be part of the package? (See here for Danuta Keane's take on branding.)

And don't they know that authors who make a living from their writing are nearly as rare as honest politicians?

Don't get me wrong.
I love being a writer.
I love the euphoric high when the words spill out in an unstoppable torrent.
And even more do I love the mixture of triumph, relief and delight you get when you finish a book.

But I don't think I could say I ever chose this way of life.
I didn't wake up one day and say, 'I know. I'll be an author ...'

Writing is as much a part of me as the blood, sweat and tears it so frequently produces.
It's not a choice.
It's a compulsion.

Would anyone really choose that?


Unknown said...

I think it chooses you and I sometimes wish it had picked on someone else!
I love it, but I am not so keen when it wakes me up in the middle of the night!

Unknown said...

You know I've wanted to write and have written since I was a littlie - I chose to do it when I was 24 but never got round to doing it until very much later. I think it chose me and I chose it. Of course, I do suffer from terrible delusions of grandeur and expect to be the next big thing. Well, hell, a girl's got to dream big, right? Otherwise it ain't a dream, it's a nightmare!

Minx, I don't mind being woken up in the middle of the night it's when it strikes me in the middle of traffic that I find it a real bugger! I'm thinking it might be better to never leave the house again.

Merc said...

It chose me and I had to adapt to that. But know I'm choosing it for my Mum, to make her dream come true. We're going into selfpublishing for her craft book when I find out how that side of things work. A limited edition, only, though.

But you're write.

Yodood said...

Can one compel themselves, and if so, how much fun could it be for anyone but a masochist? I suppose if one agrees to a deadline, such browbeating must more than equal the luxury of procrastination which, for the unscheduled author is considered reflective analysis. Thus the difference between journalism and literature. Now that I think on it, expedience dictates the the readers will fall into the same categories of expedience as the writers: newspapers for busy people, books for the more leisurely.

Yodood said...

Could our increasingly expedient lifestyles explain the less reflectively considered mess civilization is wreaking more quickly upon the planet?

Debi said...

Minx - it would be like not loving your spine or something, wouldn't it?

Ab Van - dreams are good. Hold onto 'em.

Merc - good luck with your mum's book. MAKING dreams come true - what a high!

G&G - I'm reflecting on your reflections about reflections.

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