Soooo it has been quite fascinating lately to learn how many people decide they are going to write a book because they think it will make them lots of money. Something I learned a long time ago about writing is to do it for pleasure because if you are purely in it for the money you will be spending a lot of hours with no guaranteed income.
What many people don’t know is that when you write a book it isn’t guaranteed to soar into stardom the instant it is published. I have no idea why so many people have that idea. When I was studying my Masters Degree I worked part-time in a book store and I can tell you it was sooooo insightful. When I say insightful I always felt bad when I had to walk around the shop picking out the books that were to be returned to publishers. Half of me wanted to buy those books, but being a student made it somewhat a financial challenge. Some of the books were beautiful, precisely written and there was no reason that people weren’t buying. It then occurred to me that those book ideas had been submitted to agents, who liked the idea. The agents had pitched to a publisher who believed the idea and book were profitable and then the whole editing and production process resulted in the book arriving on the bookshelf and…. Not selling. Every person involved in taking that book to the shelf had believed in that book including the bookshop buyer. Such a revelation struck me. Those books being returned had had so much input into their creation and then once it was in the market there was no determining the response. That was a realisation that I took to teaching creative writing a few years later.
When I taught creative writing evening classes I would ask the new students what had made them want to join the class. Would you believe that some of them announced they wanted to be the next J.K Rowling? Well who doesn’t? Erm actually me. Why? Imagine the pressure you would have to produce something you love with the world’s eyes trained upon your creativity, in my opinion, writing a book is a fluid connection to your imagination rather than mental constipation with forced straining. Teaching taught me more than I could ever have expected in that there are so many brilliant people with wonderful ideas. Yet so many people find it so hard to land that idea in reality. They talk about what they want to create, they imagine what they want to create and when it comes to writing they avoid it like the plague. I have watched this time and time again. That was when I learned that those who truly desire to create something simply get on with it and do it. Those making ‘literary’ noise are wasting their creative energy and talk rather than do.
The title of this blog is a different attitude to writing books. Well I have had a couple of months off writing because I have been writing pretty much daily for around 15 years. I thought I would see what would happen when I didn’t. It seems that I miss it to the point that I feel as though the ideas are over-filling my head. That is fine. My intention was to ‘rest’ until the end of October but it isn’t going to happen. When I say rest I have had two books in audio production and I have to say I now understand why I love writing sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much. When you hear a producer’s interpretation of your book, that idea that was floating in ether, you can feel so much joy. This month Lily Partidge has produced Tingle Dingle and The Land of Boredooom! on audio and I love it. We are just waiting for Audible to release it.
At the same time Stockton Harris is producing Cruise Ship Creatures (I was almost sick through laughing at some of it – I will be posting some outtakes in another blog). So in terms of attitude to writing books – this little break and hearing the books has made me realise how much I love writing and it seems that it is a calling and a desire that is part of me. With that in mind, I asked myself what the world needs from me and here is the answer:
More books that make people belly laugh.
More books that inspire others.
More books that children can enjoy.
More books that heal.
Looks like I am going to be busy….