What writers do apart from writing.

Phil: A terrible realisation hit us this week. It’s been nearly a year since Kate vs The Dirtboffins was “finished” and we’ve not really done much since then. Well, not much of what you might consider proper writing. There was of course the short story (still available for free download on the left hand side of this blog) and a couple of other bits we’ve noodled with, but no actual real writing.

At first this was a shock but in fact it highlights a simple problem – defining what being a writer is all about. The popular perception is that authors sit in their garrets churning out great slabs of text. The only breaks in this routine are lunches with publishers, trips to literary festivals and the occasional lie down on the chaise longe with the back of ones hand against the forehead awaiting the creative spark to strike again.

Which is pretty much what we want. The garret will probably be an office but apart from that it’s all good. Lunch at the Ivy every few weeks for the publisher to massage our egos – Check. Stage appearances to talk at enthusiastic crowds of fans – Check. Awaiting the creative spark – well it’s probably going involve bouncing ideas around in a cake shop rather than a piece of furniture last made for Queen Victoria, but – Check.

Trouble is, that isn’t what it’s all about. OK, so the writing bit is fundamental to the process but for the aspiring author it isn’t all. Editing matters a lot too. We aren’t at the stage where everything that hits the page stays there. Much of this year has involved punting the text out to our test readers and then trying to decide which of the comments they have made need to be incorporated. Each one is a step towards the perfect book, but it takes time and matters nearly as much as writing the flaming thing in the first place.

Next there is the submissions to agents and publishers. That all takes time too. At least that bit should go away once someone gets the message that this is the publishing phenomenon we believe it to be. I’ll happily swap this for lunches in good restaurants !

When we had our trip down to London a few months ago (was it really June ?) several of the other attendees hadn’t twigged all this. One lady got quite angry and announced that she wanted to be “A Writer” and was considering hiring someone else to do all the administration of submissions and editing. Presumably the phrase “independently wealthy” could be applied ‘cos I know I’m not getting paid for any of this ! Which if course is the other issue – we both have to eat and that means work. Proper paid work, which uses up even more writing time.

Having said all this, at least part of the reason we did this was for the fun of writing a story and in the pursuit of a publishing deal it’s easy to forget that. Kate & Co’s tale is no worse for existing in a very limited form and there should be a joy in simply making stories up. So we really will crack on with Book 2 next year. A writing day is already on this years calendar.


Filed under Phil, Publishing, Writing

4 responses to “What writers do apart from writing.

  1. And when the book is published, you are too busy promoting that book 24/7 to focus on writing anything at all. It’s a constant juggling act. My second book came out in April 2011 and I am still working daily to promote it.

  2. That’s a problem I, like every aspiring author, would be happy to have. Mind you, the grass always looks greener etc.

    Seriously though – what we want is to get people as enthusiastic about this story as we are. The idea of talking to people and being able to share the buzz is a dream made all the more frustraiting for me because I sometimes get to go and talk to readers about my magazine work and it’s wonderful to connect with the audience. Meeting someone who has never met you before, apart from in print, and them saying how much they enjoyed your work is an amazing ego boost. You need that sometimes as it can seem like all the work is being thrown into an abyss.

    All the test readers have enjoyed it but taking that next step to the wider market is very difficult. In the meantime we need to focus on the fun bits some of the time and that means getting stuck in and finding out what happens to the characters next.

  3. Andy in Germany

    And if you workin in theate you have to add casting, rehearsals, sets, and performances to this list. And spending hours of unpaid time mentoring aspiring artists.

    Worth it though.

  4. Sometimes the writing time does get away from you. I’m sure it will all be worth it in the end.

    Well done on creating a nice well presented blog!

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