Friday, September 21, 2012

Following the Dream

I started this blog six years ago with the tag-line: “Making the journey from enthusiastic amateur to paid professional” It’s been a long journey, full of fits and starts, and highs and lows (though, to be frank, it was mostly lows), but if you accept that having a book contract and making a modest (here’s another one of those lows) monthly income from writing qualities as being a “paid professional” then I would argue that I have arrived.

Yes, it’s true: I am living the dream. Six years ago I was just another guy with a laptop (actually I didn’t even have a laptop back then) and a head full of hopes. Now I’m a guy with a novel coming out and enough dosh rolling in each month to buy me a nice meal at McDonalds (super-size, no less; ooh, look at me!). But the dream, as dreams should, has grown, and now I’m looking forward to having two novels out, and signing a bigger contract, and having dinner at a Harvester. The journey didn’t end with a paycheck (or a direct deposit into my PayPal account); it is just beginning. But my rambling about writing has pretty much fulfilled its purpose.

All of this is simply a preamble to saying I really need to stop this blog. I won’t bore you with my reasons; most reasons are cherry-picked to support decisions that have already been made so I rarely trust them, especially my own. But I do trust the squiggy feeling I get in my gut every time I think about putting a bullet through the back of The Life of Writing’s bloggy head: if you fear losing something that badly, then it’s time to ask yourself why you are hanging on to it. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

At the top of my blog template (that’s the default document I use for blog posts; I’m not OCD for nothing, you know) I have the words “Inform, Entertain, Connect” centered in bold, red letters to remind me that writing a blog post is not about me, it’s supposed to be about you, and giving you something in exchange for the time you spend here. In my view, I am not doing enough.

I would love to have a great writing blog, really, I would, but I do not consider myself a good enough writer to be handing out advice, or savvy enough to impress you with innovative methods for lightening your writing drudgery. At best, I can be looked upon as a cautionary example. But this doesn’t bother me; not all of us can be mentors, and there are some very good writing blogs out there. Read them for inspiration, education and topic-appropriate entertainment; go on, it will do you good.

The bottom line is, this never was—nor was it ever meant to be—my primary blog. I never anticipated it going on for so long, but then I actually gained a following and I felt obligated to continue. Granted, it’s not a huge following, but I still feel responsible for misleading you all; I mean, you could be reading Madam Bovary, or Moby Dick, or even Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, but instead you’re reading me. That’s a heavy burden.

In closing, I wish you all luck, and encourage you to follow me on Postcards From Across the Pond: it’s not only more entertaining, it’s also trustworthy—believe me, I know more about being an expat than I do about writing.


  1. Mrs Baum10:01 pm

    Well, my alternative reading at the moment is Alex Scarrow's Timeriders series - teen books. Nothing too heavy on the style!

    Well, that's quite sad, as I enjoyed reading the blog, but then I'm not looking for writing tips or whatever - not much chance of me writing anything interesting anytime soon.

    Still, if you feel it's time to stop, then it's time to stop. No point carrying on with something if your heart's not in it.

    But don't give up Postcards, will you?

    1. Not likely, I've been doing Postcards for too long--it's a habit now. Though I may start talking a bit more about writing in it now that this blog is done.

  2. What a shame.
    I've followed you with interest. At times you have encouraged me to keep going, not that I've achieved much, though Its more than those who've never even tried.
    Good luck.

    1. Glad I was an inspiration. But don't stop writing now that this blog is ending !!! Good luck and keep at it. And you can always find me at my other blog: