Nothing special about this writer, but…

There are billions of novels out there. There are millions of fabulous writers and tales. There are well known writers who’s talent may be so so but who have captured something that connects with people. There are wonderful wordsmiths who remain obscure. There are authors who managed to get a book deal but then suffered the fate of “mid-list” authors and had to fight over and over to justify their presence on the shelves. There are authors who bypassed the traditional publishing arena and put themselves on the virtual shelves, authors who often give their writing away for free when their excellence should be paid for. There are writers in the wrong time and place and circumstance who have a more difficult task becoming known. There are writers who are hyped beyond worth. There is a laziness in the media sometimes where the same faces and the big names are trundled out over and over. There are books I’ve read by the greats and the well known that don’t hold a candle to those authors I’ve mentioned before who are unknown and who give their writing away for little or free, for the love of it, for the love of doing it. There is no secure correlation between talent and remuneration, between ability and recognition.

I say this plainly, without begrudgery. My background is psychology. I am a relativitist, I say everything depends on perspective. One person’s paradise is another’s hell. Fame is for some and satisfaction is for others. What books becomes known and respected depends on the cultural leanings of the times, the particular individuals who find themselves in the positions of ‘critics’ and now, more democratically but still haphazardly on the swell of interest of ordinary people with an e-reader and a finger on BUY.

I am neck deep in a novel, one of several I have been and am still engaged in. Writing is like breath, it is necessary for my survival, so I will do it, whether or not it comes to what is considered ‘anything’ in the eyes of ‘the world’. It is, beyond looking after my family, my main activity. I pour hours and hours into it, for the intrinsic sake of the work itself and the feeling of creativity. But that’s not to say that I don’t have my eye on publication. Every acceptance of a story to a journal, 3d or virtual is a thrill and I am preparing to submit longer pieces. But I am just one voice. A woman in the early 21st century, an Anglo Irish mother of 4 in an Irish town, a satellite of Dublin, a child of the 70’s who wore tartan trousers, a Live Aid teenager, a graduate of the bleak early 90’s, a girl who moved from an English town to rural Ireland, a woman who wonders what this fragile world has in store for her children, a woman who dances on the inside or in the kitchen when people aren’t looking, forever writing in this gigantic pond of billions famed and anonymous. So yes, like the rest, you could say there is nothing special about this writer but I’m as special as any other who strive to share our particulars, who engage in this ridiculous urge to tell, to spin, to make sense and it’s opposite, to put what is ‘in here’ ‘out there’. I will keep on going.

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22 comments

  1. I know, I so get you! Some of the badly written rubbish that not only passes for but grosses as a “best seller” is unbelievable. But, as you say everything is subjective. Theres a quote by Jon Johnston that says “success bases our worth on a comparison with others. Excellance gauges our value by measuring us against our own potential.” Keep writing excellently!

  2. Totally agree, there is a lot of marketing out there, I worked in marketing myself so I am very aware of how how a ‘product’ is sold whether it is a book or a ‘widget’.
    Keep writing as you have a gift.
    I dance in my kitchen too, happy New year to you and yours:)

  3. Good on you to keep going, Alison. A relativistic mindset can turn one to dread on value in market places, but it can also make for excellent and insightful prose. Best of luck on composing your current novel!

  4. Hear hear. You have to keep going. It’s the only way. I could do a long waffly post about how it worked out for me, but as you say it’s all relative. You can do it. May 2012 be everything you could wish for.

  5. Alison, whatever ‘it’ is, you have it. In spades. You’ve never failed to engage or entertain – and with all you have around you, that is no small thing. I know the hill you’re climbing and I’ve no doubt you’ll conquer it.

    Now – back to work!
    XX

  6. When I said there is nothing special about this writer, it wasn’t a hint for you to say “oh but actually” and all of the other encouraging things you have said here. As I said it’s all relative for all of us on the writing endeavour. There are so many of you with talent and ability and persistence and sometimes you, we will be lucky as well. The amount of work necessary to progress is phenomenal and mostly vocational, certainly never well paid and most often not paid at all. So we must be crazy. I must be crazy to put in all those hours but, as so many posts have said and this one reiterates, there is just something in us that makes us have to do it. A compulsion, perhaps. I say this as I struggle with a piece of writing that I would rather throw at the wall than engage in right now but as soon as I post this comment I will go back to it and try again. Good luck and good persisting in 2012 to all of you!

  7. I dance in my kitchen when no-one is looking….it makes my heart sing as does writing and reading. Keep at it Alison….your talent shines through.

    Wishing you all good things and a publication or two or four in 2012!

  8. Great post! Yes keep on going, that’s what I realise now that’s why I’ve started writing again. I do have moments when I think’s ‘who’s going to want to read my stuff?’ but then again, you never know unless you put it out there. Thanks for this post. Dana

  9. Wonderful post, Alison. You have such understanding and empathy – wise words spoken with the true spirit of a writer!

  10. Wonderful post, Alison, and happy New Year to you.

    I think at some stage when we get so immersed in a work as you are now, the work becomes egoless in that we stop writing for fame and wealth and accolades – though I’d quite like all three, thank you very much, particularly the second – and write only because the story demands completion and the people therein demand to be heard. I think that’s probably where the best writing comes from.

    I realise in my own project that I have become too invested in the characters to be able to produce what would be termed as “literature”. There is too much action, too much emotion, not enough detachment. But the story I have is the story I have and I would not swap for all the stuffy fairs and speeches and posthumour reputation anywhere.

  11. Reblogged this on Head Above Water and commented:

    Just found this post again and thought it still rang true. We have to keep writing, keeping hoping and striving, even when the way is unclear, the publishing world is difficult to navigate, when we don’t know if our efforts will succeed.

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