Gosh, I’m brilliant, wouldn’t you like to publish me?

Posted on 14/07/2011 by

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I remember sitting in a writing class as an undergrad and having a lecturer telling us that selling our work, schmoozing and so forth was almost as important as good writing. And I saw people exchanging matching glances that said quite clearly, But I decided to be a writer so I wouldn’t have to talk to people!

Which is not totally true in my case (although it is one of the day to day perks). I mean, I quite like talking to people about writing. It’s just that saying, Gosh, I’m brilliant, wouldn’t you like to publish me? is not something I seem natively wired to do. Although that could be because the second I think about selling my work every single neurosis I’ve ever had about the quality of my work rears its misshapen head.

Thankfully, the first step doesn’t have to involve conversation, it more usually involves writing, which I’m substantially better at. At least until you realise this isn’t fiction or academic writing it’s commercial writing, which is a whole other thing.

And while commercial writing lends itself towards a by the numbers approach, the best of it — like the best of any writing — includes a spark of something better, something beyond the formula. Unfortunately an awareness of that fact has not noticeably increased my ability to write something that fits in that category.

Honestly, at this point I’d just like to write something that isn’t totally idiotic.