I want to be an author. You?

Dr. Francis Crick's Nobel Prize Medal on Heritage AuctionsSo, I want to be an author. Why you ask? Because I have a ridiculously romanticised view of what it would be like, that’s why!

Of course if I wrote a book it would instantly be a New York Times bestseller and I would end up winning a Nobel Prize for literature right? “That’s ridiculous” you say? “You’re crazy” you say?…….Nah

I have read lots of articles about authors earning terrible money but still when I think of being an author that’s not what I think of. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because I am competitive. There is nothing wrong with being competitive, competition leads to advancement, not just personally but societally as well, but it is something people often judge you for.

It seems a lot of avid readers want to be authors. I have said before that I am a member of a bookish Facebook group and on there it seems every other person wants to be an author. Most of them seem to want to write their life story, the whole “write what you know” thing I guess. Most people’s lives surely aren’t that interesting though? That’s not saying anything bad about them as people, I would personally prefer to have had a much more normal and uninteresting life. Most of the things that make one person’s life more “interesting” than another’s are bad things, not good. A boring life story is actually a wonderful thing, at least to me. Anyway….it seems a lot of readers are really keen on being writers too.

Although probably better to be more realistic about being an author than I am, I think it is good to be honest about your goals. If for no other reason than for support. When something goes well you will always find people to celebrate with, but when things don’t go how you wanted it’s nice to have someone to talk to about it. Pretending not to care when you are actually crushed will just make the whole situation harder. Lots of people however say writing is just about getting their work “out there” rather than how many books they sell etc. In general I don’t buy that. In fact what does that even mean? Out there as in available to read? Doesn’t that wish really then mean you want as many people as possible to read it so is a sly way of saying you want to be a bestseller? Or do they mean their brain is full and they need to get their story out to free up space? Yeah, that’s not how brains work. When people say these things I generally think it is a way to hide disappointment if/when they fail to achieve what they really want. Unless you have no desire to leave your current job, or have money from some other source, being “successful” as an author will likely be important to you, whether you want to admit it or not. If you put a lot of work into something it’s ok to want some recognition, it might not be very British, but it’s ok.

So, why am I not attempting to be an author? I’m just not creative enough. I have a couple of ideas for thrillers but there are so many out there already, I think it would be next to impossible to stand out. What I really want to write is a contemporary, I just can’t think of anything to write about! I used to be creative when I was little, and at school was always told I write well but now….. Maybe creativity is one of the many things a career in medicine has beaten out of me. Technically though I suppose I am a published author because of medicine, part of medicine is about getting published in journals etc.

So, who here wants to be an author? If you do what type of book do you want to write? Have you started?

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