First off – I love being able to tell people ‘I am a writer. Oh yes, I am published. And I do it all myself.’
I get a buzz from being entrepreneurial (I can’t spell it though – thanks spellcheck!) and I love being told I am independent – damn right I am!
I have, in the past, been called too independent or had observations like: aren’t you independent? Both as weird criticisms. Because, well I can only surmise, that some people cannot handle it. Those are people who relish order to such a extent that even FUN has to have rules and needs someone in-charge.
I get it. There are natural leaders in the world and natural followers. In many respects I am the latter. I have been a leader in work roles (management) but I like to go with the flow in most situations and let others make those tricky decisions:
- shall we eat here? Hmm it looks okay… [yep, you choose cos if it’s rank, then I am absolved from all blame]
- do you want to go to XX party? [neither of us do, let’s be honest but you can be the one to say No]
Then again, because I am contrary – if the mood takes me then I want to be making all the choices.
I think most of us are like this, switching from Leader to Follower and those either side are the extremes.
So what am I getting to? (I can see you yawning at the back)…
I recently watched (read) an unfolding chat over the Harper Lee novel: Go (Set/Tell) a Watchman with interest.
I had not realised the book was the first draft but I thought it was another part of the same story. Upon hearing that Atticus was a racist I presumed it was a prequel, perhaps set before his daughter was born and maybe her arrival altered his thinking. I liked that idea – showing that a set of beliefs (often created by environment and learned from parents/peers) could be changed. An example that humans do learn and adapt.
Then all the hate came out about how bad the book was with customers demanding refunds. I was more interested in reading it then! I haven’t though.
I can see the interest in a study of the writing process; how drafts evolve, change and are influenced by writers’ associates: agents, managers, friends etc.
But the whole situation also tapped into my own insecurity, the classic self-doubt that we all feel, writers, painters, parents… are we doing things right? Are we acceptable to our fellow humans?
And we are back at the start – being INDIE.
I am conflicted with this. I always expected to get an agent when I dreamed of being An Author (in starry lights with glitter – I was only 8) but I relish the complete freedom of my own expression.
I have read some works that I would categorise as ‘dodgy’ but isn’t that to be celebrated too? The ability for anyone to publish whatever they like (within rules over obscenity/plagiarism – obvs!) is liberating. It taps into our ancient story-telling-around -the-fire gene and everyone has a story.
And how is one person’s opinion more valued than another? Of course there is experience that can influence good writing but the basics of a story are raw imagination and too much meddling will dilute. One agent looking for a ‘great historical romance with gritty back-drops’ could spot something that almost fits their ideal then mould that work until it becomes their story.
Good or bad – does it matter??
So I say – now is the best time ever to publish – go do it!