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The writer gets it


I guess there’s every chance that if you’re reading this you’re a writer of some sort.  And if you’ve been writing professionally, or even in the hope of becoming a professional, you’ll probably have had some experience that might be described by the title of this blog.

The agents says: “…you’re very talented, but I’m afraid I don’t quite love it.” So you are…unloved, unlovable – because the book is you.

Take it on the chin, move on.

And on. A bit like the missing piece in that charming story by Shel Silverstein… “Oh, I’m looking for my missing piece,” he sang.

I was talking with a writer friend on the phone when I stumbled on the title, indeed the concept, for this blog. We were both going into a sort of writer’s huddle, gnashing our teeth, recalling biter disappointments that had derailed our shoot for success and set us back years.

(Of course we were laughing. If you’d filmed the scene we wouldn’t have been laughing, the audience would have been – but we didn’t have an audience, save for ourselves, so we were laughing, it’s the only way…)

For years, I’ve felt like Myles in the movie Sideways. I even love Pinot. (But am not balding, paunch nor bearded). I nearly wept during those scenes between him and his agent – because they were so completely grafted from my own life, like skin.

So far I’ve been the writer who gets it – in the back, in the face, around the ear… some of the stories you’d hardly believe, but they happened. They used to make hilarious anecdotes, now they bring the taste of bile to the mouth.

Just occasionally, almost tragically, I pluck a wafer of success from the jaws of defeat and I suck on that for a while and somehow bounce back encouraged to believe that one day I’ll enjoy what is commonly known as a breakthrough, as opposed to what is threatened every few months – a breakdown.

Your time will come, people say. You may have been kindly condescended to in a similar fashion. You may even have said the same to a writer who has just received another rejection. Words to keep the pitiful writer happy. Because he or she keeps alive the romantic in all of us. The writer as hero, facing one rejection after the next, must surely triumph in the end…

The writer gets it, though, remember.

You can’t point out we feel sorry for ourselves – we’re masters of irony, students of character and motive. We do get it. Even as we stagger back into the flat with a knife in our back. We’re seldom surprised by betrayal – it’s just how we would have written it after all. We understand every twist there is to understand.  And yet…

… the strongest of us struggle on, Beckettian heroes, inching toward success, recognition, a sign that we haven’t toiled for nothing. A writer doesn’t want to look in the mirror and hear the words, Wanker, as he or she turns in to bed, still wired, one foot in a story. We give up so much of ourselves in what we do, we are like martyrs falling on our pen.

So this blog is going to be about my journey from relative obscurity to success. Inch by inch, if necessary. And perhaps yours, too. Because in sharing this journey with you I hope to bring luck and fortune to you, too. I’m not sure how I’ll achieve that just yet, but it’s my aim to make this a journey we take together.

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