Advice to aspiring writers

28Dec11

New Year coming up, I see. I reckon it’ll be:

1. Lose a bit of weight.

2. Get a bit more exercise.

3. Learn to play the trombone.

4. Research and write a history book that won’t make much money (possibly none at all) and which very few people will read.

5. Put fewer cigars in my mouth, or put the same number in, but set fire to fewer of them.

On second thoughts, I might pass on 3.

The best advice I ever heard to would-be writers goes like this:

Don’t do it. Unless you have to.

That’s resolution 4 in a nutshell. I’ve been thinking about this project for a while now. I know no publisher will want to pay much for it, if anything, and I know that when it comes out, in whatever form – it may be a self-publishing e-reader only job – no more than a few thousand people will read it. Many of them will be known to me personally. It’ll take two or three years to research and write. There’ll probably be a grand or two in costs for the research; a bunch of photocopying here, a journal subscription there. I’ll probably even have to pay for the launch party. You’re all invited; hope you don’t mind snacking on zbywoxlqurts and oskrapogis, but these east European meat product snacks from Lidl really are very competitively priced.

The upside? If I do this it’ll appease the angry wasp. The insect inside my skull that keeps nagging me to do this.

So there you go. Loads of time and effort for little reward. If it goes well it may earn some praise from people whose opinions I value, but praise don’t boil no cabbages.

Writing? Don’t do it. Unless you have to.

No, I’m not yet ready to reveal the nature of this project. I’m not bothered that anyone’s going to “steal” the idea for this history book, as there’s no real idea to steal. Just want to explore a few possible business models first. Hell, I might even come back to you via this here blog looking for some crowdsourced funding or summat. Give me £20 now and I’ll give you a signed copy and come round your house to do some ironing for you, sort of thing.

Who wants another oskrapogi?

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