Sure, I've started telling people I'm a writer. I work in retail, and I'm fairly young looking, so naturally people always ask me a) if I'm studying, and b) what I plan to do with my life. Because, of course, staying in retail is not a legitimate career goal unless you've given up all hope. (I do hope you could tell I was being sarcastic there.) In case you were wondering, the answers to those two questions are a) no, I finished last year, and b) I'm trying to get my first novel written and published. The difficulty with doing this, however is, as Emma Chapman pointed out at the Perth Writers' Festival in February, people always go on to ask you what you've had published. And sometimes, like in my case, the answer is not a lot. Or, it's a long list that you're usually very proud of but mostly consists of small award wins that become even tinier when a stranger looks at you kindly and pretends to know what you're talking about.
|What 'choo lookin' at?|
|"I hope no one can tell I'm checking my Facebook again."|
|Wasn't that one of the Twilight films?|
The thing is, I know this book like I know my own hands, right down to the flaky cuticles. What I should be doing is thinking of every person who asks what my book is about as a potential reader or even a potential agent or publisher. I should be telling them that my book is "A historical anti-romance set in Fremantle before and during the second world war. Two characters meet each other, enjoy the flushes of first love, but are forced to separate when they realise that each one has unrealistic expectations of the other. While apart, they go through trials which force them to mature, and when they meet again years later they must assess whether or not real love is possible for them." And I have to stop thinking that describing it like that is wanky, because I am 22 years old now and I am too grown up to use words like that.
Perhaps the connection that I need to make here is that in order to think of myself as a captial W Writer, I need to think of my story as a capital B Book. Take my work and myself seriously. But not too seriously.
|Because where would be the fun in that?|