I work in an office. I also write books. Or is it the other way around?
When someone asks me what I “do”, I pause. Do I tell them what I currently earn the majority of my money for, or what I love doing? It usually turns out to be a bit of both. “Yeah, I work in an office… butI’malsoawriter.”
It feels fake to say that I’m a writer, when it’s not how I pay my share of the mortgage every month. And yet if I was asked not what I do, but what I am, then writer is definitely the answer. Because writing, to me, is everything (major flashback to first year English at junior school, here: never start a sentence with “because”, Michael). It’s the one thing I can do. How well, is for others to judge, but it’s the one thing I can do that other people can’t. Other than sing, maybe. Anyway.
I find myself almost apologising for it. “Yeah, I’ve written a novel and I’m trying to sell it. It’s… pretty good. One day it’s what I’ll be doing for a living.” The unspoken word at the end of that is, “Honest”. As if I’m trying to convince myself.
And the usual reaction is eyebrows raised in that “yeah, right” kinda way. It’s not surprising. How many people say they’re writing a novel? How many of them finish it? How many send it off? How many actually sell it? I’m swimming against the tide here. I’m trying to justify it to myself, trying to convince myself that of all the hundreds or thousands of people sending their work off each week, mine is going to be one of the tiny minority that gets picked up.
I really do sail between two extremes on this. From “fuck yeah, it’s great!” to “oh God, I’m such a fraud and I can’t do it and Jeffrey Archer is better than me, aaaargh.”
Where am I at the moment? Maaaaaaaybeeeeeeee somewhere around the former. It helps when people are telling you that it’s not shit. And there I go again, doing myself down. I don’t sell myself very well. Never have. Need to learn how. I can pretend, but deep down I’m majorly anxious that I’m actually not very good at this, and everyone telling me that I am is just feeding my delusion. In some ways, it would be easier. The alternative is actually quite scary.
But what the hell, I’m two chapters away from finishing my mammoth edit and I think it’s really fucking gre…