Being a writer is hard. It’s hard, hard work. ‘Nothing really surprising about that intro,’ I hear you scream (or maybe you just think it – screaming at a computer or phone screen is a bit of a strange thing to do, especially in public).
Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, writing’s hard. Was it this difficult twenty, thirty, one hundred years ago? I don’t know, I wasn’t trying to write anything of worth back then, but it probably was. No wonder that so many authors are revered for centuries after their deaths, with hundreds of new authors trying to fill their shoes and make a name for themselves by writing about made up stuff that happens to made up people. So what am I getting at here?
Well, coming up with original ideas, writing them down and then concocting an enjoyable story with flowing prose from them, is a task to say the least. You need likeable protagonists and unlikeable antagonists, a strong plot that drives onwards and never meanders, and a tale that ultimately makes sense and that readers want to see through to the end. And doing all of this simple stuff is pretty darn difficult. Well for me it is, anyway.
But it’s not just the writing. These days, you need to ‘get your name out there’, and one way of doing this is to blog regularly. This is something I’m attempting to do, but not as regularly as I’d like. ‘The writing’s the easy part,’ they say, ‘it’s the self-promotion of you and your book that’s hard,’ they say. I am beginning to believe this more and more, and not because I’m finding writing any easier.
The problem I’ve found is that life gets in the way. There’s the day job to pay for the hobby (machetes, chloroform, drop cloths, disposal apparatus, etc. these don’t come cheap, you know). Then there’s the hobby itself which can take a lot of time depending on how sadistic I’m feeling on the day (I can never predict it). And finally there is the mundane stuff that life throws in your way, like taking out the bin bags, cleaning up the blood stains, and ‘doing toilet’. Plus there’s that annoying and overrated activity thing you have to do called sleep.
So basically what I’m saying is that there aren’t enough hours in the day, but when is there ever? As a (wannabe) writer you also need to fit in time to read other books and stories, so you can be inspired but not plagiarise, hopefully. They say (they’re at it again) that if you’re a writer, then you need to be more of a reader. And it’s so so true. I suppose reading is to writing, what ‘wax on, wax off’ is to karate.
So with all this stuff to fit in, and a limited time each day to allow your creative personality out of it’s cage, what do you concentrate on doing when you sit in front of the computer screen with a blank page open?
Before I started this whole blog thing, all I was thinking about during the mundanity of daily life was stories. I’d picture scenes, interesting personality traits, ways for characters to die, etc. taking snippets from conversations I heard in the cemetery whilst stalking mourners, and so on. But recently I’m filling my head with ideas on what to blog about instead. Trying to create a busy online persona as well as sit privately with just my thoughts and my stories for company; it’s a hard equilibrium to create and then maintain.
I’m nowhere near established enough to offer other amateur writers tips on their craft, and simply ranting about things that annoy me (there are lots) is not going to endear me to a new fanbase. I do read other blogs, sometimes out of an almost morbid fascination at how cringe-worthy they can be. I think we’ve all read some of those (hopefully you don’t think that you are doing that now). It is fine for an author with thousands of followers and a vast back catalogue of work to blog about where they’ve been shopping, what they’re reading, what story they’re working on, what’s their favourite post-beer snack, etc. But for someone with only aspirations of becoming a successful writer, these things, although sometimes fascinatingly addictive, don’t seem very interesting at all. I suppose neither does this aspirational writer blogging about these things, but oh well, gotta keep the word count up!
So I’m in a quandary; stories or blog, reading or networking? It’s quite complicated when you break it down. But I’ll get there, and if not I’m sure they’ll be another one of these type moan-blogs coming very soon. Now that’s something to look forward to!
Thanks for reading.
Photo credit: cszar via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND
Photo credit: diegofornero (destino2003) via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-ND