3 March 2010

Writing to reach you

I'm trying to write a book at the moment. It's a maelstrom of emotions I'm going through.

I've never written one before. I don't know if I can. I am not sure what the normal procedure is. I need to learn and work out what markets and targets are. I worry about my lack of university education. And, of course, I'm faced with the likelihood of its publication being nil without me shelling out a fortune to a self-publication company. I have days where it looks fantastic and then other days where I feel like pressing the delete button on the whole folder and going to the pub for, well, the rest of my life. The few authors I know, really gifted people, have offered generous advice and encouragement and that, at times, has kept me going.

It's a non-fiction project. I've had the idea for a while and have decided to give myself the time, in 2010, to see if the idea is actually any good. Heaven forfend that you may think I'm a novelist in waiting. I'm writing about something I know about, as opposed to something I have yet to know about. It strikes me as the natural thing to do, and also as an easier thing to do.

I'll never forget the anecdote told by a writer who claims that people in any job will, upon learning of her profession as an author, will casually pipe up that they will also write a book one day. It's writing, you see. It's easy, innit? You just pick up a quill or switch on your PC and off you go.

I've seen and heard people say the same kind of thing about radio, which is something I really can do. They say you just switch on the microphone and off you go. Talking for a living. It's easy, innit? Then I have laughed at them, inwardly of course, when they have seen the red light go on and you could almost hear the moisture vanish from their mouths and touch the numb silence that greeted the audience.

This writer, by the way, once got the standard reply regarding her profession from a brain surgeon. She retorted: "Yes, and one day I'll do some brain surgery." I expect he got the message.

So I'm out of my comfort zone. I can arse about on this blog, nattering about all sorts but now I'm trying to write something that will take me to the next stage. I'm 37 this year and I have to give it a try. I love writing, but have always been afraid to believe I actually can write. Time will tell but, for the moment at least, it's fun, of a sort, trying.


Lee Slator said...

If your blog is anything to go by, I would think it'll be an interesting read that is well written.

I guess the positive and negative thoughts about your writing are probably completely natural and have been experienced by other writers. You'll get there in the end, hopefully with some help and advice from the writers you have mentioned.

Good luck with it. If you ever need an opinion on some of the writing from the readers point of view, I'll have a look at it (no promises about how the review will be though because I've not done a structured review before).

Kolley Kibber said...

If you've got an idea you're happy with, you're already on your way. Don't get too caught up in worrying about markets and targets though (unless you're writing a textbook or manual); just write the book you want to write and take it from there. Which means rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

I've been laying down the bones of a novel over the last few months, and last week my computer crashed leaving me with no idea about whether what I've written has vanished into the ether. So above all, back up, back up, back up. Good luck.

Matthew Rudd said...

Wow, thank you both. I'd better actually finish it now, hadn't I?

Simon said...

To echo the above to some extent, the fact that you produce regular, interesting and readable blog entries means that you ARE a writer already. It is just the length issue that you need to address - unless the book itself will be in bite-size chunks rather than one continuous narrative.

Good luck with it.

Jon Peake said...

I'd say you're a good writer. As one myself it's true to say you can either do it or you can't. You can. So go for it.

Graham Kibble-White said...

Matt, as I've wheedled out of you details about what the book is, I think I can say with complete confidence: YOU CAN DO THIS.

The format means each chapter is, pretty much self-contained. You've got your book's structure mapped out, and that's the hardest bit! Work out how many words you want it to be in total (I’d aim for somewhere around 80,000 to 100,000) and from that extrapolate how long each chapter needs to be. And then off you go. *

I’ll even buy a copy.

*NB: All advice comes from someone whose now defunct book-writing career netted him almost no money.

The Joined up Cook said...

Good luck with this. Based on the quality of your blog you can write so why not give it a whirl?

I have just finsihed my first novel. And maybe my only one. I'm 56 and have never written but I just got this need to do something about it a couple of years ago.

I just wrote it without thinking of arkets and the rest.

Now it's sitting there daring me to try and take things further.

Whether I will or not doesn't matter; I enjoyed the process. I created something.

So go for it and as others have said don't fret over it. You'll get to do that later when you've finished it.