I don’t really believe it’s as hard to get published as a lot of people claim. But it’s for sure you’re very unlikely to ever make any money out of writing. There are probably no more than a couple of dozen novelists and playwrights who make a full-time living in this country. If you write short stories or poetry, give up now if you’re doing it for the money.
So let’s assume you write because you’re driven. I attended the Writers Festival within the Perth International Arts Festival this year as I have in most previous years of its existence. It was a bit re-jigged this year in terms of the spaces employed within the University of Western Australia, but the format was essentially as it’s been for a long time. Mostly panels where a selection of writers who’ve had recent publication are interviewed by someone with a few clues about them and their books. Oh, and there is also a series of workshops which you can attend to learn various skills and techniques in order to publish your own best-selling blockbuster.
For the most part it’s all very enjoyable and there are hundreds of people attending, many industriously making notes in response to what’s being said in the panels. Not many of these people will ever see their writing published. It’s not a cynical comment, merely support for that assumption that people who write are driven to the activity. I do think it’s highly unlikely that anything you hear in a Writers Festival will be the key to finding the way into successful and profitable writing, but there’s no doubt the observation of those who have found that success is an encouraging motivation to keep going.
Even so, at the end of the day, it’s that old formula of talent + sweat that’s the only real road to becoming a successful writer ( and it still doesn’t mean you’ll make any money!)
I think I’ve got some talent. I probably need to sweat some more. And I’m going to keep writing because really,what else is there to do?
See what you think about this:
Turning and turning,
I turn, the earth spins.
Which revolution can be counted on?
The earth, this timeless thing,
Has spun so long as time is.
Has Man turned about
Any the less?
And who can distinguish circles
Whose central point is the same,
Unless it be by some measure
Of distance from that centre.
The earth spins on its axis,
And circles (more or less)
The same fixed point
It has always related to,
While I, I am constantly
Turning to find my origin.
What point then is the earth’s fixity
If it holds no comprehensible relation
To me? You may say I have
Missed the point,
That the earth and I are the same substance,
That it and I move together,
Have always done so, and will always.
That is true only in part.
The earth changes / it is sure,
But it is a natural change;
My kind is contrary —
Its circles bring it repeatedly
To the same place:
My gyrings make me at once
The centre and the circle —
It is a vanishing condition,
A special kind of terror.
Ruari Jack Hughes