This week I’m going to talk about something I find difficult, so bear with me if I take my time to get to the point. See, I’ve been thinking about what matters to me, in writing and without, and I’ve come up with this: I want to be thought of as a good writer. I want the respect of my peers. I’d quite like at least a couple of fans, though I realise this makes me shallow and unworthy.
Thing is, I’m just not sure I’m good enough. The longer it goes since I wrote the novels that I’ve got/am getting published, the slighter they seem. That’s the first part of the difficulty, of course, because I still want you to buy them (Night Shift out now; Human Resources out July! Buy buy buy!). I’m also aware that it’s totally natural; indeed, if I still thought they were the pinnacle of what I could achieve it’d be a poor reflection on my development and ambition.
But I also look at what I’m doing now and I worry about that too. Is it good enough? Will I ever be good enough to meet my own standards? Am I, in fact, capable of becoming anything more than a hack?
These are the doubts that plague me. As I struggle to get anywhere near the end of my WIP (currently about a quarter of the way through) I wonder if I can actually achieve what I’ve envisaged, or is it all some impossible pipe-dream no different from when I was a child and dreamt of being a top-flight footballer.
Will I ever be good enough?
I say ‘will I ever be more than a hack?’ but that’s to disregard the skill involved in being a hack. A hack has to produce copy to order, to keep churning out material even if their heart isn’t absolutely in it; they have to achieve publishable quality again and again and again. It’s a skill, a talent, and I’m not sure I’ve got that in me.
I still aspire to be respected for my writing. I want people to look at my work and say ‘yeah, there’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.’
I’m not there yet. The only thing to do is to keep going. To keep writing, to try and encourage people to read me and to try and make them happy when they do.
Maybe then I’ll feel like I’ve met my own objectives.
Or maybe I’ll grow up and get over myself. Who can say?