For the serious writer the challenge is always to stick with it.
To keep going despite the false starts, the self-doubt and disappointments, the less than encouraging reviews. The hard bit is to stay true to yourself, to believe in what you are writing and be alive.
Whatever you write, getting it liked and supported and brought to a publisher and printed and made into a book (or e-book or audio) and stacked on a bookseller’s shelf are a series of arduous tasks that take discipline, determination and belief. All of which might desert you variously at any time.
Inspiration helps, even at three o’clock in the morning. Especially at three o’clock in the morning (answer the call, get up, make a cup of tea, write down your thoughts, don’t lose them). Someone told me they only write when they are inspired, and they make sure they’re inspired at eight o’clock every morning.
You need a hard exterior, tough skin. To absorb the endless painful feedback, the criticism and inevitable rejections. Rejections often delivered casually by impersonal e-mail with no explanation.
But whatever, it requires hard work. And it seems the writing of the manuscript, its editing and its completion is not the end of it. You then have to think about its marketing and selling, which are whole new ball games. You may pay someone else to do all that for you, but even then most of the push is left to you; even if you are published by one of the Big 4, responsibility for marketing the damn thing is largely up to you.
And booksellers themselves seem to have little interest in actually selling books these days – they have already made their money by selling the space in their shops to stack the books, to the very publishers that you tried to persuade to invest in you in the first place. And they are all on sale-or-return anyway.
So what shall we use this blog for? For airing our complaints and hard-luck stories? For exchanging experiences, sharing and learning from each other?
We could talk about anything really: cannabis and cryptocurrencies, populism and proroguing parliament, environmental activism, Glastonbury, English cricket and ladies’ football or India’s attempt to walk on the moon.
But let’s stick with writing and publishing, at least for now.
I would love to hear other peoples’ views – feel free to post comments.