I gave a talk last week to a group of sixth-formers who had kindly invited me into their school to tell them what it’s like to be a writer. I have to admit to some nerves. It wasn’t the public speaking element that was giving me sweaty palms. I’m a bit out of practise but I’m OK on my feet in front of a crowd.
No, what was troubling me was holding myself out as a writer. Yes, I write books but does that make me a writer within the definition that most people work to? Well, that depends who you ask. If I had a pound for every person that has encouraged me when I have shown reticence about my writing then I could set up my own Publishing House! I am a writer according to them. So why have I always felt like a bit of a fraud, reluctant to talk about my hobby, let alone proclaim it as my new career?
It’s all about mindset. As I stood in front of those young people, talking knowledgeably about the craft of writing, the publishing world and how with hard work, determination and resilience they too could follow their dreams, it was as if I was talking to myself. ‘Listen to this woman,’ I told myself. ‘Does she sound like a fraud, like she doesn’t know what she’s doing? No. She sounds just like all the other writers that you have heard speak. And does it make any difference to her depth of skill and knowledge that she has decided to eschew traditional publishing and venture out into the brave, new, independent world like an American pioneer? No. Of course not. So stop being so ridiculous and get on with it!’
And so that’s what I did!
In other news, I’ve posted a new Review for you over on the Reviews page. I’ve been reading double crime fiction this week. Karin Slaughter and Agatha Christie – each very different but both masters of their genre. Also, if you have finished Behind Her Eyes and want to join in the discussion then please pop over to the Book Group Forum and add in your two penneth!
As we are into a new month, I have a new read for you. It’s The Sunday Times Bestseller, Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler which is the retelling of a Shakespearean tale for the modern world and I thought it looked quite interesting. If you fancy it, then get yourself a copy and read along with me.
In the meantime, I am still republishing all Lucinda’s books which seems to be taking an inordinate amount of time and waiting, with fingernails bitten to the quick, for what I hope will be my first published adult book to return from the Editors. Watch this space for news and in the meantime, happy reading.