Updated: Jul 14, 2018
"What’s the best thing about being a writer?”
I could pretend that I get asked that question all the time, but I don’t. People don’t care what you do for a living unless it can somehow save them paying full price for a job. One of the many reasons I didn’t become a plumber*. But minus the prompting I was thinking the other day, why do I want to be a writer?
It’s obviously not the glamor; I’d have given up after twenty minutes sat alone in my office pushing tea and toast into myself. It’s definite not the money. Is it the creativity? But creativity isn’t the exclusive domain of writers, and most writers aren’t thinking up jelly bean shitting unicorns called Dave, their copy writers pushing out brochures and pamphlets.
So what drew me to being a writer?
Then I hit on it, it’s getting right, nailing it, hitting a home run, whatever one of those are. It’s forming the perfect phrase, and putting it to paper. Almost nothing beats the feeling. When I get it right, I want to re-read the words over and over, get it printed on t-shirts, mugs, hell even tattooed on my arse. I want to show people, look what I did today, like some manic three year old who managed to poo in the potty rather than behind the sofa. The reason that it feels so good I guess is I'm putting a part of myself out there that's the very BEST of me. The part of me which is creative, imaginative, and a tiny bit funny if you squint, real hard with sunglasses on, though a bathroom window. Not the part of me which laughs at inappropriate jokes, really loudly (I mean setting off alarms loud) or the part of me which acts awkward meeting new people, or the part of me which can't ride a bike, or park a car.
Those parts will die when I do, but not my short story about a man paying for a hooker, no THAT will live on. And there's something really special about that feeling.
Of course the internet is crammed with writers and stories, it's the biggest pile of crap you'll ever come across sat on your arse. But if I make it, if in some alternate reality my talent exceeds my reach, and my book gets published, a part of me becomes something that can live, if not forever certainly a lot longer than the meat sack I call my body can. Long after I'm dead someone who hasn't even been born yet might stumble over my book and end up reading it and for one moment in time, I'm alive again putting my best foot forward from the grave. OooooOooooOooo!
Today, right now...
Digital novels are becoming the way we read, There is still a place for hardbacks, and book marks and that smell, but printed books aren't the only game in town anymore. There is an upside to this ‘brave new world’; Digital books never get tired they never turned to dust, they will never be locked in an air tight volt for protection or have to be handled with gloves. Or become part of a collection that only the privileged few can see.
Once your work is out there in digital form, it’s out there forever. To be read, loved, criticised, hated, forgotten, re-discovered, but never truly gone. The digital age for writers has given us an immortally once only saved for the Gods', and for me the best thing about being a writer, is that when it comes to my writing I always have silky matching bar and knickers on (not yesterday’s thread bare ones fished out of my jean leg, and a bra that's held together by will alone). I am at my best when writing, and that part of me gets to lives forever in black and white, and that's why I love being a writer**.
As Andy Warhol said;
"The idea is not to live forever, it is to create something that will."
* That and I like to be warm, plumbers seem to always have body parts hanging out, seem an inefficient way of keeping your arse warm if you ask me, and I like a warm arse I can not lie!
** That and the total abuse of artist temperament, you can get away with all sorts of craziness when you start shouting about your ‘art’. Sometimes I sit at my bedroom window throwing painted fish fingers at people walking by, you know because I’m an artist.