I recently read a blog about a relatively successful English author and how hard he’d been hit by the “decline in traditional publishing”. He’d resorted to chucking in his rented South London office and building a writer’s den in the attic of his multi-story house. The enormity of this tragedy can’t be under-estimated. The poor bastard has to go for the cheaper caviar and the Bentley needs a polish – for God’s sake, is he expected to do that himself?
Then we read about David Baldacci and his “working day”. This entails walking his dog, before a leisurely commute to his downtown office in Virginia where no less than three assistants have been beavering away at his latest best-seller.
Okay, I’ve got an office – but it’s under the house and I built the bloody thing myself. I also have to walk three dogs (Hah! I win there, Baldacci!) No assistants, I’m afraid. And aside from my writing, I’m also required to clean the house, do the shopping, feed the donkeys (yes, donkeys), cook dinner… and that’s daily chores before getting to anything specific for that day. I’m what is known in Oz as a “house bitch” while my wife has a “real job” in town. Apparently, I don’t have a “real job”. When people find out I’m a professional writer working from home (bearing in mind that freelance journalism is my bread and butter above my novel writing) they look at me like I don’t actually do anything at all. My life is one long, endless holiday with the occasional tap at the keyboard.
I’m blaming that whinging sod in London and Baldacci’s assistants, since apparently the man doesn’t do anything for himself anymore. Perpetuating the myth that a writer’s life is so idealic.
Of course, I have it pretty lucky – honestly. Hell, my office could be invaded all day by children, rather than the four-legged miscreants above (actually, it’s 3.666667 recurring legged, if you look closely). How the hell do people with children ever write books?
In fact, I’ll guess that some of the best writing today is created by authors who don’t have the resources to do it. They’re cramped in the corner of a house filled with family, on a junk computer because that’s the only way to stop every bastard from borrowing it to use Facebook and surf the net… no one believes they’re “serious” about writing. They’re doing it the hard way. Sound familiar?
I’m only saying that comparisons to “famous” writers with South London offices, three assistants and only one dog aren’t helping.
But keep writing anyway.