I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

Whose Head Are We In?

I have given myself a timely piece of advice: beware of the rush that leads to the door of the grouchy know-it-alls - sit back, observe and keep your head while those around you are putting their own on platters.

I'm talking about the mountain of contradictory writing advice that confronts us when we log on to the Internet, naturally eager to seek out information on the course we've chosen. (Is my blog included in this pit?).

There is - it seems to me - a danger that we can easily find ourselves in the clutches of bitchy agents or disgruntled industry types who seem to love the feel of power, or a published author who doesn't like the thought that others may follow behind them. They snap: 'This is a club for those who deserve it and quite frankly not everyone who has a book in them should think about writing it.' OK, sorry, we'll leave that to you then, shall we? Of course, how silly of us to forget that people only want to read one kind of writing.

It is true that it's possible to find words that are encouraging, but they can also come from people who would never dream of telling you that you aren't wearing any clothes. Others just don't understand the significance of it all.

There is a galaxy of dos and do nots, with asteroids ready to smash you off course. This is dangerous and unknown territory, in which rules and trends seem to change by the hour.

Basically, we're all trying to get inside the heads of those who can make things happen for us: what do you like now, what will you like in the future, what is next year's big seller, what turns you off, what shouldn't I do, how should I write that, what do you prefer, what do publishers like, how should I approach you, what won't make you hate me, will a self-addressed envelope make you love me, how long should my book be, do you like more than one point-of-view, is historical fiction still a goer, what will improve this, how can I make you like this?

It's very exhausting attempting to squeeze yourself into someone else's head, especially when there is little room! I, for one, prefer to sit in my corner and leave the grouchy ones to do their grouching, and let the wise ones carry on giving out words of advice. It can be good sometimes to just stay in your own head.

The other thing I try to remember is to simply imagine the inside of a reader's head, the person who may just read the words I'm writing. How is that done? Well, I'm already a writer and I'm already a reader, so that's a good start. Maybe it really is about getting inside my own head, asking myself what I want to say, what I want to do. Then I could try the people who have no conflicts of interest in all of this: the people who like to read and discover new ideas and ways of expressing things. The experts can come in when it's all ready.

If at the end of the day my words link up with the right pairs of eyes, all the better. If not, at least they linked up with my own eyes. At least I wasn't rooting around inside someone else's head, desperate for someone else's vision of things. It's time to write and be damned. It's time to write, send it off into the universe and be confident that the asteroids won't smash things off course. Let's write what we would want to read, and trust what our own internal reader says might be interesting. Now, there's a novel idea!

There's also a line doing the rounds: there are more people wanting to write novels than there are wanting to read them. Is this true? Do the statistics add up? I don't believe it. Aren't these writers also readers? Isn't that good news? Why should these two things be mutually exclusive. Isn't it possible that more writing might bring on more reading? Isn't it good that readers are becoming writers? Why hold back and put off a writer who might just have the power to bring enormous pleasure to thousands of readers/writers.

Enough of the grouchiness. Let everyone go and do whatever it is that tickles their senses.

P.S I hope that my blog is not included in this grouchy, lecturing club that writers seeking inspiration may stumble across. If it is, my apologies. If it helps, I think you have what it takes and I will buy your book. Now, get tapping!

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