Yesterday my publisher let me know that the first Hope & Glory novelette is doing pretty badly.
There’s still five novelettes to go, on the other hand, and now I’m curious to see what will come down next.
But let’s be honest – it’snot the sort of thing a writer likes to hear.
In the meanwhile, The Guardian published a short piece, by an anonymous writer, called What I’m really thinking: the failed novelist.
Now I cannot and I will not make light about the obvious distress and pain that transpire from the Guardian piece.
I do not subscribe to the opinions presented and the choices made by the writer, but what the heck, I do respect those anyway, because, as the poet said
two things you should be slow to criticize
a mans choice of woman and his choice of work
Or their decision to quit that work, I add.
But there’s something I’d like to add…
As a writer, there are three reasons why I write:
- the desire to tell my own stories.
- the desire to have my stories read.
- the desire to try and make a buck out of it.
I know, there’s no Art mentioned, no Inner Demons, no Holy Fire – so sue me.
I’m a storyteller, but there’s a million ways in which I could tell stories to my heart’s content – from buttonholing strangers at the bus stop to doing podcasts to keeping a blog.
I do actually… well, apart from the buttonholing thing. Not yet, at least.
But to satisfy at the last two of the above-mentioned conditions, I write stories and publish them – or try to.
And then it turns out my stories are doing pretty badly.
And the worst part of it is, there’s people clapping – because to some, there’s nothing better than seeing somebody try and fail.
They want you to fail.
Not out of any animosity or hatred or deep-rooted evil, mind you.
No, probably they are overall decent people, and would be hurt should we describe them as nasty or bitter or cruel.
It’s just that they resent somebody doing something they do not – or they do, but without any pleasure.
It’s always a tragedy when someone’s creativity is smothered – even if it is a self-imposed smothering, a much needed silencing of a voice in one’s head to preserve the overall sanity of the individual.
But while I felt the hurt reading that piece on the Guardian, I’m still going on.
Each failure is a chance to learn something new, a chance to improve.
Because to run, in the end, is to keep falling face first without never hitting the dirt.
And stopping is not an option.