Authors and ideas
Am I the only person that finds images of shirtless men on the cover of a book a sure signal that I will never want to read anything by that author?
Am I the only person that finds stories of extra-marital affairs, alpha billionaires and taboo relationships depressing?
Am I the only person that could cheerfully never read anything involving warlocks or wizards?
All of the above seem to have brat packs of authors who roam my timeline in droves, until I eventually unfollow them all. I cannot be the only person that feels like this? They are very good at supporting one another, however, and I regularly see them gleefully exchanging reviews when they bring out another of their titles.
They even have this thing called a ‘cover reveal’ before releasing these works of brilliance.
I am, for the moment, also a member of ‘Writer’s Group’ on Facebook, a group so vicious that it appears to be a forum for mutual stabbing between chapters. Only today, I was attacked by a woman with a rather spurious grasp of reality challenging some comments I had made about book marketing on the grounds that I had apparently failed to take the Medieval period into account when talking about writing and marketing. My response was that her queries were about as relevant as asking how many pre-1960 paperbacks had survived until the present day. (It is also rather ironic that she picked someone with an advanced knowledge of Medieval history, particularly in relation to art for this ridiculous challenge)
Writers, as far as I can see from this and previous experience, are an odd bunch. The people who like to write copious amounts of trash like to give you advice in order to absorb you into a herd of equally miserable and unimaginative people, and the others tend to roam alone, seeking validation from the occasional lonely paragraph. I also see a lot of people trying to write before they have lived much of a life, which causes them no end of heartbreak when they hit a writer’s block.
There are many people who have a very limited life and write beautifully, but sometimes you need to grow into your ideas. My original book, now that I have taken it out and looked at it again, is a lofty challenge requiring precise organisation, and I feel I have a better grasp of what I am trying to achieve.
You could try to argue that I am benefiting from the distance of time. You could say that I now have more writing experience, but you would be incorrect about both of those things because that is not the reason I can easily let go of a chapter or two.
Because it had morphed from a health database to a holistic tome about obesity, to a massive state of the nation style commentary, it had some scattiness. I have now, looking over it again, pinpointed exactly what I wanted to do with it and where the weaknesses were.
The overarching theme of the last few years has been weakness. Weakness for food, weakness for emotion, weakness for not accepting the inevitable. Chopping out the dead wood makes my ideas stronger, makes my book and I more likely to succeed.
Chopping out the dead wood is never a pleasant process, in life or in writing. Focusing on what you really want, rather than what you actually need is also a most unpleasant process. In my present lonely state, it is not easy to shut everyone out, but in a creative sense, it is the only thing that makes sense. It is too important not to let my higher self take over whilst I have the luxury of time to make my vision happen.
Vision is a strange thing. When it is thwarted for a long time, it causes an almost physical pain. I cannot force this plant, because to make it grow it requires the attention of more than one gardener. What I can do is give it the best possible chance of thriving, and to do this I apparently have to be alone for the moment. I cannot tell you how this fills me with despair. Nevertheless, after several wasted years of self-abuse to avoid feeling anything, I now feel something. I look about ten years younger than I did last week just admitting it.
And yet, the answer is more seclusion, probably on a permanent basis.