Saturday, 5 July 2014

Stop moaning; just be honest with yourself!

Blimey! It's been a long time since I last posted on here. Do I have to apologise? No, I don't think I have to; mainly because I'm not sorry. Isn't blogging all about saying what you want whenever you want? To be honest I didn't feel like ranting about anything much, really. Instead I've been busy working on bikes, building wheels, you know, being a mechanic--something that makes me very, very happy. As weird a career change it may be: from author/editor to grease monkey, I've not looked back once. And, anyway, who says I can't be a poetry writing bike mechanic? No, no, don't worry, that's possibly never going to happen. Me, writing poetry, that is. I won't rule out novels, given that I've still book 3 of the Branded series to finish, and a wonderful sci-fi story line, in addition to some other books banging around my head; I'm just waiting for inspiration to drop down on me. Thing is, with inspiration, you don't see it coming. It just hits you when you expect it the least. BOOM! It's like a calling which forces you to sit down and write, obsessed with finishing, eager to share it with others so they can enjoy the temporary new reality you've created. Once published, you crave the feedback--mostly the positive comments, of course--and revel in the satisfaction of having produced something worth readers' time.
And a recent post on Facebook was what inspired me to write this half-rant. You see, I have a lot of writer friends and I still, even after 1.5 years of abstinence from the writing community, see the same moans and complaints, the promoting, the sharing and whatnot every time I log into Facebook, and it gets on my nerves.
People complain about other authors not promoting them, or not helping them to spread the word about their new book, others moan about the lack of sales, whereas a few boast about theirs. Let alone the invites to like author pages; it drives me insane!
I recently mentioned (jokingly) that I may write a book about bicycle maintenance and what was the reply? 'I've heard the money's in non-fiction.' Oh, for fuck's sake! Does everything have to be about the money? I admit that I wanted to sell my books. As I said many times: once you hit the 'publish now' button, you want hard cash for your hard work, but I was always mainly writing to challenge myself, to grow as a writer and editor, and to entertain my readers. This should always be the priority. I'm not a whore to the market who writes what sells. If I wanted that, I'd write up another Fifty Shades of Grey, or go formulaic. Something I've never managed with any of my books and I'm proud of it. That comment about 'the money being in non-fiction' made me angry and smacked of much desperation. I think it's an aura many self-published authors have around them: the sick urge of becoming rich through writing. If you're in it for those reasons you'll be disappointed. Yes, believe in your work, but don't force it down other people's throats as you'll disgruntle a lot of them. It'll most likely backfire, too.
With so much distance to writing and the whole glass bowl of a community, I've noticed something: money's taken a back seat. I acknowledged a long time ago, that it's unhealthy to expect success or sales and I stopped promoting, too. Couldn't be arsed, you know? Okay, I monitor the sales of my books, but it's hardly more than say 30 or so. They either happen or they don't. And that's exactly how I feel 'real' writers should handle it: just bloody write and let things happen the way they're supposed to happen. All this faffing about the lack of sales, promoting or lack of thereof, is seriously putting a downer on inspiration. As someone who's in pain every single time when writing, I'd recommend to be grateful if you can't stop the rush of words coming out of you. Use this to your advantage. Write what you like, challenge yourself, grow. Be critical--be very critical--don't listen to those who blow smoke up your arse. To become successful in writing you need:
--most of SP authors lack this
--far too many wouldn't be able to efficiently edit someone else's book, so how can one expect they'd be capable of writing, let alone editing, their own?
And, what's really important: honesty. If you don't at least have talent, then you shouldn't be surprised by the lack of sales or negative feedback. And people who will let you know if you're talented of not are definitely not fellow authors, but readers--those who aren't your Twitter or Facebook friends, those readers who randomly got their hands on your books without preconception, those who don't owe you anything; they'll be brutal. Listen to them.