The world will probably be the same regardless of whether you get your book out there or not. But that, for me, is exactly the main reason I want to write.
My interview with Sophie Johnson partly inspired me to write this. She’s a very firm believer in “do what you love”. And I echo that sentiment. If you love to write, write.
Lots and lots of people think writing is big bucks. I’m part of Generation Y. I’m a Millennial, an Echo Boomer (which sounds flippin’ R.A.D.). We’re told we have everything given to us on a plate. We’re the generation always thought to want fame, fortune. We’re inundated by celebrity culture. Money is everything to us.
Except, it’s not. Certainly not to me.
I’m not going to lie to you – of course I want to make money from my writing – specifically, writing fiction. Writing novels. But that’s not the main reason I’m doing it. It’s more of a “wouldn’t it be nice if…?”. I recently sat through a lecture by Kevin Duffy of Bluemoose Books. He told us that something like 8% (it might have been even less) of writers can live off what they make from writing. That’s not a lot of us. And there are a lot of us.
If my course is any indication, there’s lots of people who want to write. Who aspire to write. I’m not saying every single one of those people will get a novel out there, will be published. But being in these circles has taught me that there’s an awful lot of people out there trying to write something. It’s much, much more common than you think. I work with a woman who is a fantastic writer. My father’s always wanted to do it. My sister and myself have always, always written stories. It’s intuitive. I believe it’s part of human nature.
Over the past three years I’ve met some phenomenal writers. I’m unsure whether they will pursue this for their career, but I’m certain most of them will continue it as at least a hobby.
For me, for a long time, it was a hobby. My favourite hobby, the one I put the most time into, but still a hobby. I used to do it to connect with other people, to write out my imagination, experiment. Then I had a revelation at some point between the age of 10 and 13. I really just wanted to tell stories to people.
I never thought about getting published or what it involved until I got to around 18. During college my creativity dropped significantly. Academic pressure and the push to apply to university put a lot of responsibility on my shoulders which I was not ready for. So I took time out from academic study, to think about what I wanted to do. I had no idea at 18 that Creative Writing degrees were a thing. I researched it. I applied. I got in. I figured if I was going to do anything, I would do what I was good at, and I’d do what I was passionate about.
During the last 7-8 years, I’ve watched my father go through the rigmarole of self-publishing. He isn’t bothered which platform he uses, as long as his work is out there. That works for him.
I’ll probably try all sorts of ways to get my stories out there. Whatever works – whatever gets me readership, and interviews. My dream is to walk into my local Waterstones, and have someone come up to me and ask me to sign a book. I’d love that. I’d love to see one of my books on the shelf of a major bookstore.
But if not, it’s okay. I feel as though I have stories which I can share with people and I’d like them to connect with those stories, read the book and finish it, put it down and think to themselves “that was… amazing.”. And they’ll be thinking about it for days, they’ll recommend it to their friends and their boss and their mum. Stories are for sharing.
Three years of my degree taught me that it’s possible. I am good enough.
But if I never write my stories, if they’re never published – yes, the world will be the same. Therefore, I cannot have a hope of changing anything if I do not write. I write because I want to share my stories. I want to bring joy and excitement and amazement to readers. I want to change the world, even just a little bit, with one book. Or maybe ten.