So, last night I was on a local publishing panel, in Derby, as part of a literature festival. There were around thirty or so in the crowd, which was quite nice for milling around and general chit chat afterwards. I got a lot of the questions. Since I’m a commercial editor, I kind of felt like a target too. The Bad Man. And once you spell out just how the industry works, and reality kicks in, I couldn’t help but think it depressing for many people, who were quite happy to sit with their dreams of glory until I opened my mouth. We live in an age where nearly everyone, rightly or wrongly, expects to achieve. Add a dash of celebrity culture, and everyone wants to be a star. That can be a dangerous path, as I explained earlier. And after reading this article in The Guardian, I really do wonder why people write at all. Last night really brought it home, just how many people of all ages, of all cultures, want to put pen to paper, and be recognised for it. Maybe it will never happen for them. In fact, I would say the odds are very much that way. Why write?
For me, and I’m most likely paraphrasing someone, most likely Hemingway, but it’s easier than not writing. It’s a safer mentality then ‘I want to be famous’ or whatever. In my position I happen to be luckier than a few, less lucky than many, many others. Last night I met some very driven people who are destined for unhappiness, most of it their own mental torture of wanting success without realising how difficult the industry is. Perhaps it’s best not to put too much importance on these things. Just let go a little.