There is so much I want to say about being a writer. The industry – by that I mean the world of publishing, whether that is self or traditional and every last little associated add-on branch of the industry (prizes, competitions, writing retreats, literary agents, the BBC Writers’ Room website, writing opportunities, fellow authors, Mark Dawson’s advice, the Alliance of Independent Authors, Amazon’s algorithms), EVERYTHING causes me deep pain and sorrow.
These bits of the publishing ‘industry’ in the UK and the US are all good but everything feels ‘vulture-like’ and when I think about all these things I get sad.
Today I was looking at entering the Bridport Prize, and realised I would have to pay £20 to enter. A friend recently asked me to enter the Scottish Arts Prize competition, and for that you have to pay to enter. I recently entered two play opportunities and got knocked back.
I recently looked at my book sales and was met with a blistering ‘nothing’ – no sales. I recently get another rejection from a literary agent in Oxford, not for her, she said. I want to get a foreign language publisher for my novel The Hidden which sold over 30,000 copies digitally. Surely that’s enough to impress an agent – apparently not!
I write because I love it, not for the fun of it. I would never call writing fun, it’s a need, a burning need – to express oneself, to tell a story, to pull the rock off some far-flung subject that’s been hidden for decade and retell the story. It’s about poetic description and soulful development, it’s about soothing a hurt, a deep, deep hurt that I am cloaked in every day.
When I write I step away from my life, myself and tell a story. When I step back into the real world and deal with the millions of emails that come in from every single sub-aspect of the publishing world, I want to slice a razor over my wrists and watch the blood flood the floor. I mean it. All I want to do is write. I don’t want to bother with any of the other stuff.
So does that mean – because I can never be an AUTHORPRENEUR – like Mark Dawson or Rachel Abbott – I can never be anything? That’s what it feels like, that I am nothing, but I know and have heard that my writing, my stories moves people to tears and that they love my work, that people want me to write more stories, but how can I when I am penniless and absolutely nobody cares.
Writing with that feeling of doom leaden in the soul is achingly hard. It feels like lifting a building up over your head.
I am just one writer of millions who feels the same. Why should anyone help me? Help yourself I am told. But I can’t do it, I can’t do anything but write stories. I am not a MumPreneur , and AuthorPreneur, or an Entrepreneur. I am a writer of stories and I write well and make people cry with emotion. That’s about all I can do.