So, how does one become a writer? Or should that be ‘whom’? We will literally never know. Being an aspiring writer is like being an amateur photographer: if you have to tell people that you’re one, you aren’t one. Trust me: I wasn’t a photographer for ages.
The old saying goes: Everyone has at least one novel in them, and that’s where it should stay. Ironically, the man who came up with that saying (Tom T. Brechtinstein), actually wrote The Colour Purple, most of the post-reformation Catholic dogma, and Stig Of The Dump. Everyone does not have at least one novel in them. Most people struggle to remember the name of their first pet when filling in the Secret Question part of Email sign-up forms.
The only reason to write a book, is that you believe you have a story that needs to be told; you believe that if you don’t tell the story, you’ll go insane. Or maybe for the cash. I don’t fall into any particular camp. I want to be a writer because I can then pretend that my massive failure of a life was simply a prelude to my becoming the next Hemingway.
Mariel, if you were wondering.
There are two paths you can take, when you decide you’re going to be a novelist:
– The cynical, money-grabbing opportunist writer: He researches what’s ‘hot’ in publishing, then shits out a steaming turd of Vampire/Illuminati/post-apocalyptic game show-based nonsense, bags himself a four book deal, and sleeps like a fucking baby at night.
– The purist, perfectionist artist with integrity. He slaves away over a single document for years at a time; polishing and redrafting to the point of obsession. He’ll probably never think it’s ready to submit, and he scraps any project immediately, if something similar is published by anyone else.
I like to think that I fall somewhere between the two of them. I like to think that, but it would be completely untrue. I am totally Guy Number Two. Fuck my life.
Today, I’m transcribing enormous tracts of inscrutable handwriting into legible type. The reason I have so much handwritten stuff is that I’ve been without a laptop for a few months; My faithful Samsung R530 decided that ‘twelve months’ was a sufficient lifespan for a modern computer, and promptly fell apart the day after the warranty expired. They don’t make them like they used to, it seems!
Unless they used to make them out of cunt.