Writing is both a very solitary buisness and yet you also have to put your work out there for other people (some you know, some who shall forever remain faceless) and lay yourself bare for them, hoping they won’t tear your dreams apart. This is the reason why I have not yet submitted anything to an agent or publisher. I’ve entered the odd competition, and heard nothing but that still is easier to deal with than the response of have you tried another career? I’ve written a series of stories which mean an awful lot to me. I know they’re not perfect, I know they need redrafting again (although, the urge to get the next story in the series out of my head before re-drafting the previous one is an awful habit I’ve gotten stuck with) but the idea of someone telling me that they really aren’t good enough is terrifying. If I don’t submit them, then who knows, maybe they are really good and people would love them if they saw them: I can still cling to that hope.
Amusingly enough, as I write this blog post I even had to ask my partner to not read it behind me as I found myself too embarrassed so he went into another room. He can read it later. When I’m not there to see his face. And preferably not mention to me that he read it in case he found something wrong with it.
As I said in my about me section, my mum is my biggest fan (I know she has to be) but she tells me that, ‘no they are good and I’m not just saying that.’ And when she reads them, I enjoy being taken along for the ride again, seeing which bits she liked, which bits surprised her and whether it has sparked any emotional response. So is this enough to call myself a writer? Do you have to have thousands of readers and be on bestseller lists or is taking one person off to another world for a little while enough? I like to think it is. I like to think of myself as a writer despite not having any ‘success’ yet.
I often read the competition winning entries and think mine was a lot simpler than that. Not as high-brow perhaps; but I keep thinking of something Ben Aaronovitch said when on a book tour a couple of years back. Reading something shouldn’t have to be hard work. So yes, my writing may be simplistic and some may frown upon the modern fantasy genre (but who didn’t have a vampire phase, honestly) but I enjoy reading that and I enjoy writing that. So I suppose the question I initially asked of ‘am I good enough?’ is the wrong question. Perhaps the question should be ‘what is good enough?’ or maybe even ‘does being “good enough” even matter?’ If you can make a difference to one person for a little while maybe that’s all that matters. Maybe all you need is one reader, one fan.
Having said all that, I am going to stick by the promise of putting stories on here for you to read and yes, hopefully that series I mentioned will grace an agent’s desk one day. But you don’t have to like it and that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not a writer because although you might not like it, someone out there has to, even if it’s just one. So I’m on a quest; you’re out there reader. And I will find you. Mwahahahaha. Cough. Sorry.