Before the world of social media and blogging entered my reality, writing my first book was quite a one-dimensional approach. It was a selfish, directed and driven pursuit and other than ordinary distractions – lecturing , researching, family life in a household of 6 and infinite hours of taxi- time ferrying the little people around, somehow I fitted it in. But I didn’t have a FB page, or website and certainly no twitter, linked in or pinterest accounts.
And it didn’t concern me what the outcome of the writing was. I was doing it, I believe, because of some instinctive response to the harassing feeling that something must be put onto the page. Nothing distracted me from the pure writing in terms of what would come of it. It didn’t matter. It was a mixed journey of immense pleasure and pain – the blank page, the odd few journals and cascading waves of thoughts were the nuts and bolts in the tool box. The editor, cover designer, proofreader, publisher, distributor, bookshop were nameless. The cover would emerge and the readers? Well, I didn’t even know there would be any.
So What do you make of this?
Without knowledge, there is less fear;
Without boundaries, there are no limits;
Without expectation there is no disappointment.
Once these have surfaced, there seems no going back and suddenly I find myself somewhere in between the Princess of Procrastination and a slut- like sleuth, trawling the web for more and more motivation to write, re-reading tips from bestselling authors and inspiring mega-income indie authors, being tempted to tweet but not fully knowing how and why , and then finally resting briefly to have a gawk at what other people are up to on that frustratingly frenzied place commonly known as facebook when I am seriously ‘web- wasted’ from reading up on all this – just for some distraction.
And I don’t like it much there. Honestly I don’t. Much in the same way that a hangover feels after a great night out. I’ll be having a marvelous time on my laptop (like the great night out) and after shutting down from FB, I’ll have a flipping hangoverish headache wondering what the hell that was all about because everyone is either swanning around at some exotic location, posting perfect pics of how much fun they’re having, or sending me some inspirational article or blog which I must capture somewhere and then wonder where I was before that, or just…I don’t know….fill me in on their latest news which is lovely and heartwarming and I’m tempted to LIKE everything I see but I don’t. Because it’s distracting me from my writing and I may have to continue the conversation there and then I have psychotic spell of angst where I wonder that if I don’t like the post then they’re not gonna like mine when I decide to post something really important for me and then I’m going to feel extraordinarily deficient I suppose because we are all insecure beings at heart.
And then I come across a really super little blog somewhere – please don’t ask me where cos I, like Alice in Wonderland, have no idea which of the rabbit holes I’ve fallen into or how to get out- and it inspired to again consider the reasons why I write and what I want to do with my writing. (I swear I’ve just a white rabbit go past- “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date…” which is exactly how I feel most of the time too) .
So I thought I’d share with you some of these thoughts, particularly if you’re a frustrated writer and you can decide for yourself if any of these apply to you. Or not.
Why should you write a book?
1.You write a book because, like Virginia Woolf, you have a room of your own and some money and it doesn’t really matter what you do with it.
2. You write a book and hope to heaven that a traditional publisher will really like it (you don’t go in for ebooks much and love the smell and feel of real paper when you read) and you will have a publishing logo on the spine and you can then just enjoy the fact that the whole publishing/ distribution/marketing thing is taken away from you.
3. You write a book really fast because you have read on the web millions of times that you have to write lots of books to make an impact anywhere and even begin to get noticed and you put it straight onto AMAZON or SMASHWORDS or something and start earning a few royalties and probably make more income than you ever will out of a print book. Of course you can order a print book on there too if you want through CREATE SPACE or something.
4. You write a book because you have always written articles or journals for magazines/newspapers and a publisher friend says you should really put your journalistic expertise into a proper book – it will do well.
5. You write a book because you are a literary genius and grew up on the bookshelf of your parent’s library and read tons of books in your life and know that you will probably be an award winning author, possibly even several times over, but realize that you may not earn much from the books. It seems like literary books are generally not bestsellers which implies that most readers are not literary.
6. You write a book because you have a great story/plot – probably full of crime, incredible characters and unbelievable sex scenes and some weird weapons and believe that it will be a bestseller and it more than likely will be. Neither you nor anyone else will know why though but it doesn’t matter.
7. You write a book and it gets published or you self- publish and you are unfazed as to whether it really makes money or not because you simply have to write it. Maybe it will help or inspire other people but that’s not the point.
It doesn’t really matter why you write a book. Just write whatever you want to. And don’t, whatever you do, get so distracted that you spend the whole time trawling twitter or blogging, or facebooking because that is NOT the way a book gets written.
And that’s the point about this: it’s that I’m finding it so hard now trying to write the second book. The distractions, the acquired knowledge and expectations from writing the first one, resurfacing fears. Distractions come thick and fast. Especially with a new puppy because puppies make puppy turds in places that big dogs don’t. And it can be a distraction.
You may inspire someone in some way
if you write a book and that’s reason enough.
Because I had an email yesterday requesting that I take part in a series of talks for a school READ- a- THON and also that I please arrange for ANOTHER delivery to EXCLUSIVE BOOKS for the talk and the store.
And if someone feels that I can inspire people enough to come and talk to them about reading and writing as an author of a book (heavens is that really me?) … damn, that’s enough reason for me to carry on writing.