It might surprise people who read this blog, but I am a writer by trade. 'By trade' makes it sound like I have a van, or at the very least a dungaree pocket containing a spanner, but no. (Actually, perhaps writers should have vans, and take out adverts in the Yellow Pages. 'Sebastian Faulks- Complex Plot Devices While U Wait'. 'Joanna Trollope - Gas Safe Registered Aga Technician' etc).
Anyway, I wish there was a degree of legitimacy to being a writer but there isn't. Unless you're famous or you stand about all day waving a big fucking quill, nobody knows. So you'll just have to take my word for it that I once wrote some books that are at #19,567,984 on the Amazon list. Also, once, in 1997, the Independent on Sunday proclaimed that I was genius. I had the clipping, but NOW I CAN'T FIND IT. Oh well. If you're one of those people *Dennis Norden face* who likes to spot writers in the street, look out for the unkempt fat people who are crying on a park bench. That's us. Or it might be a tramp.
Being a (not very successful) writer is weird, and a source of endless strife. Really, we should get proper jobs and just give up, but we don't. I scrape a living from words, but nobody can really call themselves a writer in casual conversation, even if they've been published, without sounding like a pretentious, cretinous turd. This leads to a perverse state of embarrassment, to the point that you may as well work in an abbatoir. You almost talk yourself out of it. When I was stressing out a couple of months ago, my own mother suggested I get a job at a cheese shop. 'But I'm...a writer,' I stammered. Even I didn't believe it when I said it.
When you've got kids, writing becomes an impossible dream, unless you have an understanding spouse with an inheritance, a large family or an army of helpers. There's no way you can write a synopsis for that elusive bestseller when you've got a chimp hanging off you bollocking on about Balamory. Sitting around making things up seems like a ridiculous indulgence, especially if there's no cash guaranteed at the end of it. You also need time. Lots and lots of time. Time to examine your metaphorical belly button fluff. Time to let your mind unspool, like the multicoloured wheel of doom on your laptop. Time to sit on a park bench and cry and share a bottle of White Lightning with a man called Nobby.
But maybe time's on my side. The other day I registered my son for school. It was a weird feeling. Part of me was sad. Part of me was yelling 'YEAH! BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 9 AND 3 I CAN DO ONLINE GAMBLING AND WATCH REPEATS OF COACH TRIP!'. One thing's for sure - once he's at school I'm going to have to either write myself out of poverty, or get that job at Cheeseworld. (Or both.) So I've had some ideas and I'm writing them down and I'm going to get back to number #19,567,983 on Amazon if it kills me. And if that doesn't work, I'm going to become a plumber.
6 months ago