Don’t laugh, please don’t laugh. It’s true yours truly is now counselling the great unwashed of authors on the trials and tribulations of the art of writing from my ivory tower of success….(not). But more about that later.
Write On is a new physical magazine that aims to promote unpublished writers from a wide range of backgrounds. You can find the on-line version here. It’s a brave move in these digital times and as such should be supported and applauded by everybody in the literary world. Much of the credit should go to Madeleine White and all the good people at Pen to Print. Madeleine and I inhabit the twitterverse and she asked me and fellow Wilbur Smith alumni Dan Cross if we would help. Well of course we would, and now the first edition is out there.
I was asked to comment on the issue of imposter syndrome. Here is the (brief ) answer I gave.
“Congratulations, you a self-aware human being with all the attendant benefits and mishaps that entails. Honestly, show me a writer (or anybody else for that matter) without a degree of “imposter syndrome”, and I’ll show you a liar or “a hack with no soul” as Steven King would put it.
You are writing, so you are a writer. Self-doubt is a cross we have to bear to write well, and not everything you write will be perfect. Understand and accept that writing is a muscle, keep exercising, and it will get better. The real issue is how to deal with the crippling doubt that gets in the way of writing, or that makes us question everything we do write as being worthless.
So lesson number one, do not suffer in silence. Join a creative writing group, give and receive feedback in a positive atmosphere. If not one in your area, then go online. WritersHQ is a great place to go and find you really aren’t alone, and everybody feels pretty much the same as you do. Above all else, keep writing.”
Obviously it’s a bit sparse but it at least opens up the issue which plagues us all and is, I believe, especially bad for writers as the process is such a solitary one, with only your head for company. It’s a wonder we’re not all mad!
In other news, “The Differences continues to rack up an impressive array of rejections all seemingly based on the fact that the book is original, well written and full of interesting characters. WTF you may ask. Which is indeed what I do on a frequent basis. Reading between the lines and talking to a publisher at the launch of Write On it seems that being published has ‘nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the book or writing’. What is important is apparently ‘luck, reputation and fashion’. Editors, it seems, are generally risk averse and it really helps if the reader has already heard of you. This recent example illustrates this point perfectly. Nothing against Richard, he’s an extremely talented guy, but com’on, give us other poor suckers a break! Still we persevere and my agent is looking for new editors to pitch to.
So, it’s time to test the water with self-publishing methinks, see if I can build a track record/history which will make me more saleable to the industry. So, to that end over the last few months I have been working on a new project. It’s a re-imagining of the whole idea of what a Vampire might actually be,(none of the sunlight and garlic bullshit) and is set in London a few years from now and would fit into the urban fantasy/noir genre. It’s planned as a series and has the strapline ‘How Can two people so wrong make things right?’ It’s a very different beast from ‘The Differences’ being fast paced violent and taking no prisoners, sort of Elmore Leonard meets Richard Morgan. by way of classic pulp fiction. Stay tuned for further information.
See You Out There.