And the next one, right in here. please…My Guest Blogger for today is the superb thriller writer, David McGowan, taking a virtual trip to the Middle East to say ‘hi’..(I think it’s the lure of the sunshine that brings ‘em all out here eventually y’know)…The cover page of David’s recent highly successful offering, THE HUNTER INSIDE is shown to tempt you into downloading (easy as pie, that is, eh?)…no, Mabel, no… the picture with the glasses is the author himself… meanwhile here’s a glimpse of the mental machinations and cerebral torture that we nutty band of scribblers put ourselves through, all for an adoring (??) reading public… (What?!!?)…whatever, …enjoy..
The Glamorous Life of the Writer
‘Oh wow, you’re a writer, that’s so cool!’…
This is one of the many things people say to me when they ask me what I do. I guess it’s funny that people consider writing to be a glamorous occupation. Do they think I spend my time on a yacht in the blue tropical waters off Hawaii? Sipping a pina colada with my Apple Macbook on my lap, endlessly and effortlessly spinning tales as good as anything ever written like some kind of modern day Shakespearean reincarnation.
Well, firstly, a few confessions. I don’t have an Apple Macbook. I can’t afford one. Oh yes, I don’t own a yacht that I sail off the coast of Hawaii either. And please don’t hate me, but I’ve never, ever, had a pina colada. Ever.
I suppose to someone who’s never attempted the excruciatingly difficult task of actually writing a novel to its completion, the idea of doing so sounds exciting and glamorous. Maybe that’s why 65% (figure for illustrative purposes only) of the people who I talk to about writing say they always wanted to be a writer. ‘Do it,’ I tell them. ‘It’s never too late. A novel’s no good inside your head. Write it.’ I say these and many other things meant to inspire, but the simple fact of the matter is that most people will never write a novel, and if they do, they’ll never sell it. Hell, some of them won’t ever even show it to anyone else.
So no, I don’t have a yacht, and no, writing isn’t really a glamorous occupation. When you sit down to write a novel you invariably do so alone. And you don’t sit down to write a novel once. You sit down a million times. And you don’t sit down a million times to write your story. You have to research setting, scene, characters, plot details. The list is endless. And these settings need to be reflective of your plot and your characters. Your characters need to be believable and have depth. Your reader has to connect. They must be built. Block by block. Blink by blink. Tear by tear and smile by smile. Their whole lives must be constructed inside the mind of the author and put down on paper. The reader might not know that your character got stung by a bee when she was six and has a mortal fear of anything that buzzes, but the author will.
Oh, and those words you use to describe things? You need to know lots of those, because you can’t keep using the same ones over and over again. You must always have a good one to hand. And things like metaphors and similes – they come in handy too, but you can’t use clichéd terms. That wouldn’t do.
And how glamorous is getting up at 5am to write before you go to your day job? When it’s cold and dark outside and your bed is trying to hold onto you. Not very. Or the solitary, infuriating task of editing, when you really feel there’s something missing from a passage, but you can’t see what it is. Or when you feel that your skills are not adequate to describe and do justice to a scene, emotion or event. Or the lack of social life that you put up with. Working into the wee hours and all weekends, and only coming up for air to clean, shop and eat.
Nope, not glamorous. I’m not being angry or condescending to people making these assertions. They are, after all, genuinely interested and pleased for you to be doing something creative. All too often people don’t see creativity in the people closest to them, so when it creeps up on them they are genuinely amazed and pleased.
That doesn’t always equate to sales though!
I guess this is a motivational piece for authors. We need to remember that there are millions of people out there who would love to share our talents and commitment to writing. Many of them will never feel the sense of accomplishment or buzz of excitement that we do when we write a killer line or paragraph or chapter, or when we are inspired and words are flowing from our fingertips.
It truly is a wonderful feeling. It makes the early mornings, late nights, and the challenges of constructing a world, characters, good plot and (sometimes) intricate sub-plots all worthwhile. Let’s forget the dark days when we look at a blank screen and struggle to fit two words together, because that’s definitely not glamorous. Let us think instead of our work finished, with a great cover and sitting proudly at the top of the Amazon sales charts.
Because then, and only then, will we live up to our reader’s vision of glamour.
‘Waiter,’ he said, waving an arm, ‘another pina colada.’
The Hunter Inside – Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/The-Hunter-Inside-ebook/dp/B0082KLJO6 and Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Hunter-Inside-ebook/dp/B0082KLJO6
My website/blog – http://davidmcgowanauthor.com
Twitter – @dmcgowanauthor