Other than the time back in 2003 I have never approached a publisher or an author’s agent, nor have I ever entered any kind of creative competition, whether it be for art or writing; I have never joined a writers circle either. I have never had any real formal education on writing and not much schooling throughout my childhood. Everything about me and my creativity is 100% self-taught and badly taught too in my opinion!
I have no idea where all these punctuation marks really should be, I have no idea about my grammar or where a paragraph should start and end, really it is all either dumb luck or a right mess, I don’t know which it is.
I don’t have much confidence in the idea of becoming a successful writer, I have said before and it is very true, I am scared that I will let people down a lot because of my health issues. In my personal life, I let people down almost all the time. I am afraid that I will have people wanting to publish my work but will have second thoughts about it because the writer will be a no show for at least 50% of the promotions, book signings and interviews. In my personal life my health is so bad that a simple two hour shopping spree can set me physically back by three days. I have more than one auto-immunity problem working against me.
I know in my heart of hearts it is unrealistic for me to have what many people would call a “real job”, writing is a real job if you get published isn’t it? Despite publishers and agents alike stating they are working towards having more underrepresented writers, how ready are they for those who are bed bound for 10 – 16 weeks of the year? How patient would they be in dealing with such a writer who is also deaf, too deaf to use a phone and relies heavily on face to face lip-reading, text messages or a representative to take telephone calls?
This is what holds me back in approaching publishers. My own realism.
I really don’t want to be told “you have a lot of talent but you are not working hard enough to promote yourself or take yourself seriously, it is a shame you are so sick, you could have gone far”. This has happened before to me, not in the writing industry, but other forms of work, which is why I rely on benefits.
Is this something I should even put in my covering letter to an agent? I mean, come on, if it really is like any other job, then who the blazes would ever look at my work twice if they knew that I am that sick most of the time?
Am I being too defeatist as well as a pragmatist, maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel – who knows? Maybe there is an agent out there who can push someone like me into the limelight and support me in spite of the health problems?
I am writing this for two reasons today. One is the fact that there has been quite a few people contacting me in the past five years in my email and on private messages on twitter and other social media, who support my work with all their heart and has asked me to send them some of the work and I have not done this. Many have become active cheerleaders in trying to get me to write regularly and to state how my poetry amongst other things has helped them and other people through hard times in their lives. The thing is I am too polite to verbally let people down and I don’t like dragging up my health as an excuse all the time, even though that is the primary thing. So I let it all slide. I don’t want to do this, I really don’t. I really want my books out there, I really want people to enjoy my worlds, because I have put my heart and soul into my worlds for a very long time, in some of the series I have written, two decades of blood, sweat and tears have gone into them! I need to see my characters come to life through actors and actresses on the television as this is the main motivation for me writing. I have always written the things I have because I have always wanted to see them on TV. They are things I want to watch. I am a huge supporter for acting and have always wanted to get into theatre and television myself, as a writer/screenwriter and eventually producer and I know with my health problems that may never happen. When I was younger I loved going to the drama classes during lunch break and playing with my friends various roles. I love playing and I believe acting is the only way an adult can still play pretend with their peers and not be considered insane or childish. The course I was doing back then was after I had a breakdown, my mother was really worried about me so signed me up for a general vocational skills course to boost what she thought was my confidence. It wasn’t a confidence issue I had, it was severe depression due to something that had happened to me which was nasty and as usual swept under the carpet by her and never spoken about to the family.
When I went to those drama classes, my creativity ran riot. I became a writer for short plays that we would do at the college together, I also wrote rap songs for my beat boxing friends and joined what was known as a rock choir with my gothic friends, I was a Goth back then too.
I find it really easy to write songs and poetry, it comes very quickly to me and this amazed my friends in the creative scene. I would literally sit on the table with my legs up, write on my knees a song of any subject they chose and give it to them to sing within ten minutes max, never revised either. I do this with all poetry even now. It comes and in a few minutes it is posted or printed and ignored.
If I had someone tell me that I am now a full time poet, I would freak out about the ink and paper I would use daily, because I literally could throw out 5 to 10 poems an hour.
Similar things happening too since I took up my recorder practise; I can play by ear and I have composed several tunes since first starting out. I can compose a new tune in around 90 minutes and lyrics to go with that within 10 minutes. I am learning well in how to read and write the recorder music now. It’s winter now and my chest is playing up, so it’s likely the recorder is going to be put away until April now, which is a shame.
The second reason I posted this, is that I am considering entering a writing competition for the first time in my life. The Writing Magazine (which I am subscribed to) has a competition which has sparked six story ideas in my head – however, I can only afford one entry. The competitions requires an opening line which is this “They weren’t like me”, closing date February 15th 2020. It is a subscriber’s only competition.
I am running short of money and I hope there is enough ink in the printer, as it is unlikely I can afford more ink before Christmas. I know me, the story I will choose will be done and dusted within a weekend, then it will rest a week, then I will redo it and it will be sent a month in advance.
Thousands of people will be entering this contest so I know that my chances are slim, but though I am a pragmatist I am also an optimist and I have as good a chance as anyone. But what I want to know is… is this the sort of thing I put into a writer’s CV when approaching an agent? If I win, I mean?
Anyway, just some food for thought!
Merry Christmas everybody if I don’t post again beforehand!