I often hear writers, including fairly well-published ones, talk about the difficulty of accepting themselves as ‘real’ writers. It is particularly hard when we surround ourselves – intentionally or not – with non-writers or non-readers. These non-creatives tend to view writing as something frivolous and feel uneasy when faced with someone imaginative. To make themselves feel safe, they would try to make us, the creatives, feel as if we are doing something unworthy with our life. No matter what our achievements, at these times we may even agree with them, especially if they are people we respect, like our parents or our peers. In fact, someone recently posted on Facebook how, when asked what he does for a living, he feels uncomfortable saying he is a writer even though he has two published novels and a third one on the way. The reason he, and many others, feel this way, is because so many things nowadays are measured by money. But success isn’t about the money. Ask yourself – would you write if you were already very rich? And what if you were never going to get paid for your writing?
We need to stick together, to remember that without the support of other writers and artists, in a world of those who find books boring and art – useless, our work will not flourish. Find your own support network, be it online or in person. Go out there, talk to people, get your work out and you’ll see your creativity grow.
And if you are in Manchester, get yourselves to the Prestwich Book Festival and make sure you come and say hello!