"You can write. Good story well told. No idea where you go with it or if you really want to go down this road, it's a long hard road being a writer...."
So said Matt, a very good friends of mine, taking time out of his very busy schedule as author, director, screenwriter and general very interesting family man to review my short story Embodied.
Writing involves losing oneself in other places and times, other people's lives, inside of the words themselves. We lose ourselves. The great philosopher M. Mathers made mention of this in his deep tract of the same name and, despite what some may think of Eminem's value as a literary source, he has a point. Writing fiction is where we see this most, I believe. We invent lives, worlds and events and bury ourselves in them, to become them and inhabit them so we can write about them. Another friend of mine spoke about a "cult of multiple personality" in describing a group of fiction writers and he too, is right don't you think? I mean we, in any given novel, inhabit the heads of 4 or 5 people we invented with the hopes of making them real and believable to other people. We become them, we live as them, we make them real. The late and great Sir Terry Pratchett perhaps put it best. "The better a writer is, the crazier they are..". So we are here, every last one of us hoping, praying, putting in late nights and long sessions to be utterly, utterly insane because no-one does all that sacrifice and work to be mediorce now do they? We want to be the best there the craziest!
So we walk this long and lonely road collectively alone. Walking inside of our own heads we follow the pack, we set off down another track, we turn round and come back, we set off on our own path and truly go alone? We write, we invent, we create, we become!
Nothing is harder are more difficult than pouring your heart and soul, your everything into a novel, a story, a collection, a blog or any such thing for months, even years and then when the DAY comes, when you see the "published" come on and the excitement threatens to explode to wait....to wait...and then...well....dum de dum....well....nothing. one sale. Diddly squat, zippo, nada. Bummer! It is beyond aweful. You placed a gosh darned piece of your SOUL out there and bared it to the world and not even a solitary handclap?? Well damn. So now what?
I told Matt, in response to his questions at the beginning of this article the following, which i quote;
"you know this is in the blood and being a writer isn't a concious decision...being brave enough to share it and strong enough to take the criticism; rough enough to dust off and improve...those're the choices. For me writing is a pleasure, a release, an outlet....I even dare say stuff writes itself! That shorty started very differently and kind of morphed as i wrote it; make sense? You know i don't know; I write because it is ME....there are so many times when I'm not sure I am writing about my characters or whether they are writing themelves and i am simply observing...the words, often it's as if the words are in charge and I'm just the one giving them shape.."
So here's my advice. Your write and self publish, like so many of us do, and it bombs. Find out why...be brave and publish bits of it on groups and blogs, have friends and family read it and listen to what they have to say! Alexandria wasn't built in a day, the most perfect of paintings were done over the top of older paintings, the best of steel is made by failing over and over and over again! Brush it off, stand up, wipe your hands and carry on!!
"Only those who dare to fail greatly can every achieve greatly." Robert Kennedy