Friday, 23 July 2010


By Richard Jay Parker

It's a question that writers frequently ask themselves whether they be starting out, struggling to perpetuatre their ambition or writing professionally. Being a writer is one of the few professions that people find acceptable in terms of it earning little money. Put a silent 'struggling' before the title, nobody bats an eyelid.

Writers are frequently portrayed in the media as malcontented, downtrodden pariahs with an enormous capacity for alcohol (OK - that last one certainly attracts some people to the lifestyle). It's not a romantic image though. It's not true of many writers either.

But some truths are inescapable. There's never a guarantee of success in this business. Not every writer wants to earn the big bucks and is quite content with the therapy and pleasure it offers. However, anyone wishing to do it as a day job has to make it pay and the nature of the work (and the donkey/carrot technique that so many use to extract the work from us for nothing) means more often than not it doesn't.

Depending on which area of writing you're in personal projects can be taken out of your hands, changed, rewritten beyond recognition or stolen outright (although instances of this are not quite as common as some writers fear). There's also the interminable waiting period that comes before all that which every writer agrees is one of the most frustrating parts of the process.

So what is it that attracts so many people? I think it's because writing is still one of the purest ambitions to have. That creating something personal and championing it in the face of all the above is an innate human desire to share our individuality - whether it be with friends or the entire world. There's also that old saying about nothing that's worth having ever being easy so add our gluttony for punishment to the crucible as well.

It's not easy being a writer but I made a determined decision to be one quite some time ago. I inevitably get fed up with its myriad pitfalls but I can still find quite enough reasons - aside from the generous and supportive company of other writers - to want to continue.

Glass of wine anyone?


  1. Because at this point in my life, I can't imagine doing anything else. Writing is a life pulse to me. Admittedly, I have those moments of wanting to toss the laptop out of the window, but what writer doesn't? (Hugs)Indigo

  2. Why indeed? The publishing business is a strategic stasis, agents are having to work harder for less, advances have (all but) disappeared (as have marketing budgets) and the supply of wannabe new authors vastly outstrips demand. None of which gets a second thought when I sit down to write. I guess unpublished and published authors alike do it because they are compelled to do so.

  3. I think there are a group of people who gain immense pleasure from watching their own pain - writers. Now, forget the glass, pass the bottle! ;-j

  4. Oh! Sorry, Richard. I was waiting for Charmaine to pass the bottle my way...
    For me, what got me writing again after twenty years was the regrets that I knew that I would have had I not kick-started that long-unfinished novel. I have always had that creative energy within me that wanted to come out in the form of writing fiction. I'm grateful that I'm getting to do it, as well as finding it easy to get others to want to read along.
    I'm sorry about the tablecloth. Who gets the bottle next?

  5. Writing is not just my passion - it's my oxygen! It's "till death do us part" - mind you, I have even warned my family that when the time comes to place me in a casket, they are to throw several pencils, notebooks, and a rubber in with me just in case a "Novel Idea" should dawn on me during eternity - well, Heaven forbid I should miss an opportunity like that with so much time on my hands to think. And, if there's any means of relating it back from the ethers, well then - it will be the first book from Heaven!
    The Writers Rest!
    Here we lay her down to rest - A mound of notebooks on her chest - Several pencils in her hand - And now she's off to happy land!

  6. Thanks, Indigo. I can't imagine doing anything else either.

    You're right, Shaun. You just have to carry on regardless and ignore the statistics.

    But that whole bottle does numb the pain, Charmaine.

    The energy of self motivation is vital, James. I think all writers struggle with this at regular intervals.

    Thanks for the verse, Ita. I can use the wine to get to happy land though.