Why bother to write?

Have you ever thought what motivates someone to want to write?  A few mercinary individuals write for purely business reasons and monetary gain, plus to inflate their egos.  Most don’t. Personally I write the kinds of stories that I would like to read and that give me endless pleasure. If other people like them, it’s a bonus.

All of my life I have read and enjoyed a broad mix of literary works. Granted most of them were written by so called ‘established writers’, or to put it another way, the chosen few seen as cash cows to be milked mercilessly under contract to one or other of the ‘big five’ publishers to churn out X number of books for Z amount of money.

One of my favourite series by a major publisher was the “Gunner Asch” collection of stories written by the German writer Hans Hellmut Kirst. His hapless young German soldier’s misadventures during World War II gave me hours of literary pleasure.

Today due to the phenomena of eBook publishing, some excellent writers previously ignored for one reason or another by the ‘big five’ are thankfully emerging from among the dross which sadly makes up the great majority currently on offer, via your nearest eBook supplier.

Writers like Derek Haines and David Toft immediately spring to mind. Both of them are responsible for excellent stories. In David’s case his novels are published by Wings Press a small press publisher, while Derek has gone along the self-publishing route as have I. David writes exciting paranormal thrillers. Derek writes hilariously funny works of fiction like ‘Hal’, the story of a misfit member of the English aristocracy who find himself in all kinds of trouble on an alien planet.

While I love reading science fiction (I had minor recognition for my first published book, the space opera “Onet’s Tale” which I serialised here on my blog), I thought I had finally found my niche in the fantasy genre when I wrote a fantasy anthology Goblin Tales. Even though it received mostly rave reviews, it simply doesn’t sell. I even went to the time and trouble to produce a paperback copy of it. But it has made little difference.

Never mind. Just so long as I can still see the screen on my laptop and the keys, I’ll continue to write those stories I have always wanted to read myself, plus write blog posts like this one. There was a brief moment in time back in 2012/13 when I became a best selling author thanks to one of my books – a hybrid science fiction/archaeological/action adventure entitled Race Against Time. Nothing lasts forever…


The hardest game in town.

Ever wondered what is the toughest occupation? Brick layer, Lumberjack or Roustabout maybe? It’s none of these.

While there is no doubt that the aforementioned occupations are physically dangerous, writing leaves all others in its wake. To be a writer you need a hide thicker than a rhinoceros, mixed with a grim determination to carry on despite being constantly attacked by individuals out to destroy you. Very few of us actually make a living out of it. Most of us consider ourselves fortunate indeed if just a handful of inquisitive readers sample our work by actually buying a copy rather than going down the cheapskate route, getting their hands on a free one, then not bothering to read it. Or worse – getting a free copy, then lambasting it, hoping to turn potential reader’s attention away from it, as happened recently to one of mine!

There is no magic formulae for success in the writing game, unless of course, you are a so-called celebrity. Then the public will lap up anything with your name on it, no matter how vacuous you may be, which says it all about the public’s current taste in reading matter. Sadly these days well written works of fiction sit on the shelves, be they physical or electronic, all of them largely unread.

The only way things will ever change is when the reading public grow tired of celebrities, and want to read something worthwhile. I have more chance of becoming a multimillionaire on the Peoples Postcode Lottery – and thats not a chance in Hades!

At the moment it makes little difference what genre you write in. If you are largely unknown, given the current mania for ‘shallow/vacuous’, you will remain unread. If you have an uncontrollable urge to write, do so. Just don’t delude yourself into thinking that taking up writing will bring you fame and fortune, instant or otherwise. It won’t unless you are the next Dan Brown or J.K Rowling in waiting. What it will do however, is boost your own sense of self worth. It will give you an enormous amount of satisfaction, especially when you see the product of all your hard work finally in print.

Want my advice? Never give up. Go for it…