It is said that everybody has a book within. Based upon the size of my waistline I must have hundreds. Oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful if just a little expulsion of gas brought forth a pristine best-seller perfectly ready for an expectant publisher.
Even for the serial-published author, life is not that easy, although it is a lot easier than for the ‘newbie’…that would-be writer that thinks ‘er’* knows it all, but in truth knows bugger-all.
Thirteen years ago, I had a story running around inside my head and night after night, I laboured to complete it. I now look back at my completed first draft and cringe when I see what a load of rubbish it was. Even after countless revisions, many punctuation corrections and a host of grammatical changes to its 130,000 words, it still wasn’t quite right. Yet, what exactly is ‘right’?
For several months, I was a member of a group called YouWriteOn, which is a peer review site with the potential of a professional review should one’s excerpt do well. After some wonderful reviews of my piece, ‘A$$URANCE’, it achieved YWO bestseller status. One of my reviewers was a man who is, perhaps, where I was twelve years ago…he has a novel running around inside his head that he is determined to complete. He is even considering taking a sabbatical from his doctor’s job in the medical profession to complete it.
What would I say to him? Without a doubt it would be: ‘Don’t give up your day job, unless you have private means, or have a reasonable pension and time on your hands. Yes, you’ll ‘complete’ your novel within a year or so, but getting it somewhere near the standard expected by a literary agency or publisher will increase this time threefold. My first novel has not yet achieved the acclaim it deserves, yet I am still expulsing novels as regularly as a baked bean addict clears his ‘throat’.
Why then do I do it? Well if you are a baked bean addict, or if you are too close to somebody that is, you will know that the occasional ‘churn’ is unavoidable if an uncomfortable build up of pressure is to be avoided. Until such times as Alzheimer’s puts the brake on all those stories running around inside my mind, I must write or I shall burst…but whether I shall ever burst forth on the writers’ stage and stand under the spotlight wallowing in the plaudits of the literary intelligentsia, is an imponderable.
The pressure is building up again. I feel an urgent need to ‘churn’ out my fifth book, ‘Discrete Reversal’. For me, anticipation is a marvellous antidote for colic; I hope it will be for the good doctor.
*‘er’ is Somerset dialect for he or for she and was used as a gender-neutral word long before
the corruption of the English language to use ‘they’ in the singular. I don’t think political correctness was behind it as such; more likely somebody wearing a white smock and a crumpled hat, chewing on a length of straw might be of either gender.
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