where the writers are
Write, write! Push, push!

'What's the hardest part about being a writer?' It's a question I've been asked quite a lot recently. I think that those who ask expect an answer that's related in some way to the actual writing process. Sometimes they'll make suggestions whilst awaiting a response... 'Is it coming up with ideas?'... 'Is it killing off characters?'... 'Is it editing umpteen times?' In truth, I can't think of a single part of the process that is anywhere near as difficult as going public. 

Imagine the scene... a writer plonking away at his keyboard for months on end, researching, working until four in the morning, sometimes going without speaking to a living soul for hours (perhaps days) on end. The world outside doesn't exist for much of the time, little manages to make it through the two-foot thick shell of the creativity bubble that surrounds him, and Tuesday is much like Sunday... hours melt away and meals go uneaten whilst the cogs grind away, until the pages are filled.

And then whoosh! The book's published, the marketing begins, the photos have to be taken, the interviews have to be given, and the public appearances have to be made. For someone like me, who spent the first fifteen years of her life turning her back on every camera that was pointed at her, to the point where my mother developed SAS-like skills in order to catch me off guard and get a snapshot for the family album, posing for a photo that will be splattered all over the Internet and local papers is a tad terrifying. I'm reminded of an episode of Friends, and Chandler's attempts to have a half-way decent studio shot taken for his wedding announcement... Chandler Bing, I feel your pain!

Then there's public speaking. I've crooned into my hairbrush and thanked my family and friends for the Oscar whilst standing in front of my bathroom mirror just as much as the next gal, but that's no training for getting up there in front of strangers and trying to fill a vast room with your solitary, and possibly shaky (or tipsy if you got carried away with the Dutch courage), voice. And, of course, there are radio interviews... for which no amount of reminding yourself that 'bum' is not a suitable word for the BBC's listeners will prevent you from saying it at least six times once you're on air. 

You can forget working on your magnum opus until 4am too... you've got to be up at six (which, let's face it, is still the middle of the night) if you want to make that book signing on time. And when you get there, you can forget about going to the toilet... that's when fifty cash-wielding eager readers will arrive at your table, looking to buy copies for themselves, their sisters, and their great aunt Maude. Piddle at your own peril! If you're lucky you'll manage to sneak a pack of Special K Mini Breaks in between customers. If you're not, and this is generally the case, your next customer will approach just after you've shoved six into your mouth and can hardly breathe let alone speak coherently.

Writing a book is a bit like having a baby, I imagine (although I've never been through that, so what do I know?). You conceive of an idea, go through nine months of growing your baby until it's ready to meet the world, you go through a period of excruciating pain trying to force it out there, have ten or so minutes of relief whilst holding it in your arms and cogitating on how beautiful it is, and then you realise that you've got to spend the next eighteen years making sure it realises its full potential. And no matter how much hard work was involved in producing one, you just know you're going to go and do it all over again!

8 Comment count
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A Wonderful Story to Keep!

Thank you, Gina! What a wonderful story for every writer to keep! Although, I haven't published anything, yet! You never know when these things can happen! LOL! So I'll keep these things in mind.

I truly enjoy your wonderful expression in writing. And I will always remember your story here... I love it!


Catherine Nagle

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Thank you Catherine! And

Thank you Catherine! And good luck with getting your work out there... you do indeed never know when these things are going to happen. One day you're pounding on your keyboard and the next you're telling a very nice chap on BBC Radio Gloucester, who's interviewing you about your book signing, that your neighbours used to hurl courgettes at you. That's how I spent my lunchtime anyway!

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What a bummer! Now - are you

What a bummer! Now - are you ready for that close-up?

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I will be, Mr DeMille, as

I will be, Mr DeMille, as soon as I've knocked back a glass of whisky to calm my nerves. Bottoms up!

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There are worse ways to

There are worse ways to prepare for launchings, readings, sellings. Perhaps not advised for the a.m. events, but . . .

I know of a BIG NAME author who specifies a bottle of wine be present at readings. For me, a glass would be fine.

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As much as I like the word

As much as I like the word 'bottle', for readings a 'barrel' would be much better. As for launches... well, champagne would be nice, but not smashed up against me as I'm pushed out to sea.

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Yet it would give a whole

Yet it would give a whole new meaning if it were reported (as I am sure those legions of reporters at your launch would so do) that you were smashed.

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Yes, I'm sure that every

Yes, I'm sure that every journalist on the payroll at Nude Fly Fishing Fortnightly would turn out to cover my launch... they're so easily lured by a platter of sausage rolls and an open bar.