This post was supposed to go up on the 5th, which for anyone not keeping count was last Friday. (It was last Friday even if you were keeping count — Xuan from St Mall’s would be reprimanding my use of the conditional there.) And I don’t even have a good excuse. I didn’t do anything on Friday. Admittedly, I’ve been in Scotland since then, traipsing around St Andrews and Aberdeen and Glasgow and driving through landscapes that resemble Middle Earth, Narnia and Hogwarts in turn (I remain convinced that Scotland is fictional), so that’s kind of an excuse, but not really.
The TCWT chain for this month wants to know what our ultimate goal is as a writer. I have a few, but some are more important than others.
I want to be published, obviously. I’m not fussed if that’s indie or trad publishing. As you can imagine, I want my writing to be available to as many readers as possible, which is largely possible with trad publishers and their print distribution at the moment, but the future is a rich and varied tapestry of possibilities. Who knows? With St Mall’s already out there in the e-book/POD market, I’ve kind of hit this goal already, but I’d like one of my ‘solo’ novels to make it too.
And I’d like to make my living as a writer. I’d like writing to be my day job, not something I’m forced to squeeze into evenings. I’d like to be able to write and know that I can pay my bills, that I have enough money to live on. Of course, becoming a bestseller, winning some major prizes, and earning enough money to buy a castle like the one I stayed in a few days ago would be great, but if all our dreams come true, what is there left to dream about?
(That’s a butchered Frank Turner quote, by the way. I can’t take credit for philosophising.)
However, on a less commercially-focused side of my aspirations, I want to give something to young readers just as writers gave to me. I want someone one day to come up to me and say: You changed my life.
Nathan Bransford is organising a thing at the moment called ‘Thank A Writer’, where you write to a favourite author and basically thank them for the impact they had on your life. I’ve written to Maggie Stiefvater, because the impact and influence she had on me was huge. But there are so many writers I’d like to write to: Kate Thompson, for starters, who changed my life in a thousand different ways and is probably the reason I write now and am interested in the things I’m interested in and basically is completely brilliantly awesome and asdfasldkfja;ds why can’t I find her address to write to her?
Fangirling aside, because writers have done so much for me, I’d like one day to be the writer who inspired someone else, who triggered somebody’s interest in mythology or history or being a modern-day knight, or whatever the book was about. I’d like someone to write to me and say: You were my inspiration. Or, your book helped me when I was struggling. Or, which would be extra special, your book helped me to make sense of myself.
Because that’s what books have done to me. And I use allegory in my work. I write about people who don’t conform to societal norms (whether it’s magic powers or not!). I write about people who have to come to terms with who they are and how that relates to their lifelong beliefs and values. I write about people who have struggles that, whether or not they’re caused by fairies, can be related to everyday life and the struggles of teenagers.
And I want those to help people.
Of course, my goal as a writer is also to make my beta readers cry (okay, mainly Charley, but she deserves it). I want to have people tell me that they sobbed in a silent library over my books, like I did over Tolkien’s Children of Húrin, or in a classroom, like I did over the first draft of Charley’s Ikarus, which is why I am tormenting her with my current project. But that’s not as important as making a difference.
And there’s a quote that I heard recently: if a writer falls in love with you, you can never die. My poems are dedicated to people I know and love. Many of my characters take inspiration from people I know. Writing, for me, isn’t just about me living on after I’m dead, as Anne Frank said, which Nevillegirl alluded to in her post. It’s about everyone I know being preserved in ink on a page.
So that’s what I’m doing as a writer.
Changing lives, provoking tears, and granting immortality. No big deal, you know. A bit of fame and money isn’t too much to ask if I succeed, is it? ;)
The rest of the chain!
5th – http://finnlongman.com/ <- Let’s just pretend I posted on the right day, in which case YOU ARE HERE. Also, please note that my blog is .COM and not .WORDPRESS.COM :D (Not that it matters: the other redirects anyway.)
26th – http://anqiyu.wordpress.com/
27th – http://bloodoverithaca.wordpress.com/
29th – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain)
PS: I know I say don’t apologise for your blog, but I have to right now. I’ve been abysmal about keeping up with regular posts at the moment. I am so sorry.