So we start today’s post with a bit of good news, ne verging on exciting.
A couple of months ago I sent two short stories off for consideration in a competition and consequently heard nothing for ages.
Then, around the end of September/start of October I received news that both had been accepted for publication – for which I would receive the princely combined sum of $40 (about £25)
There were, of course, slight catches to this – firstly there will be no free author’s copy to tout around and try and sell to family and friends, secondly the only place it is being published is in Canada and on demand – so when I do buy copies (admittedly at a discount) I will have to pay a transaction fee to my bank.
So not quite vanity publishing, but close.
But then my friend Argent was telling me that back in the beginning of publishing everything was vanity published – it was the only way to get things out there.
For anyone wondering I won’t be naming the stories, nor the location of printing here because I’m still keen to keep my name and face off the internet as much as possible – but if any of you actually feel like putting up £10 for 2,000 of my well chosen words (along with the words of about 13 other people) please let me know and I will email you details.
To be honest though, I don’t expect you to buy it – I’m happy that you come and read my thoughts in the first place.
And I know that some of you prefer my factual writing to my fictional (I enjoy the process of both), but today I wanted to talk about what we each get out of blogging.
I always remember what Douglas Adams said about writing – which was that it can be very lonely and like staring at a blank piece of paper until your head bleeds.
For me I have written stories and poems and songs for as long as I can remember and became terribly down heartened at the response from family and friends. Some just wouldn’t be interested in reading them at all, whilst others would look at my 50,000 word Magnificent Octopus (as I call Magnus Oppus – or great work) and pick out all the punctuation mistakes and fail to say anything positive.
Even worse would be the “great….great…sorry, what was it about?” that some people would give to something I had spent three or four years writing. Eventually I came to doubt my ability to write: which has (and continues to have) given me a certain degree of writer’s block – sometimes its difficult to continue writing something when you know that the end result will sit in a drawer, or on a computer file, unloved and unread by all other than a few non-committal family members.
On one occasion at work I tried to explain that I had woken at 4am with a really good idea and had to get up, switch on my computer and work on it there and then or lose it forever – the response from the person involved was that I was “sad” (IE a loser).
It’s something I continue to be frustrated by – this bizarre need to be creative and to express myself in some way and yet my personal feeling that I am never able to get what I mean on paper, or that the people in my own community wont “get” it.
And so when I discovered blogging it became a chance for me to talk to people that DID understand – people like myself that woke at 4am with ideas, people who were prepared to look at the world from a different point of view.
Since I started blogging I’ve done some of the best writing I’ve ever done and I have to thank each and every one for your continued support and feedback. People always surprise me as to what they pick out of something I’ve written.
Finally – I wanted to discuss an idea for my next Toastmasters speech, which will touch on the subject of genius and where creativity comes from.
Take William Shakespeare: the bane of school children reading in bored voices across the land, but universally accepted as a genius.
Most of us can quote some of his works – like “To be or not to be – that is the question. Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of oppressors”
However – I saw a production of Hamlet recently and it said in the booklet that an early version of the play showed a much shorter version of the speech: “To be or not to be – aye, that’s the rub”
Why was this? Because back then plays were constantly written and re-written according to public response, actors might add lines that would be kept and writers would openly steal bits of plays from other writers that they liked and add them to their plays…
So if all this was happening to Shakespeare’s works – was he really a genius??
Perhaps true genius exists in the coming together of minds??