In all humility, I do not expect to really hit my stride as a writer until I’m approaching 50, which gives me a few years yet. Hitting my stride means being published regularly and being a strong, consistent, good writer of a high standard. The point where I become a national voice. That is the aim, and not a humble one, but my humility in the time it might take, is. Nonetheless, I thought I’d research into the serious side of writing. There is a business side to it, after all.
A long time ago I started a Law and Administration degree which while I never got past a fail in the first semester (extenuating circumstances), it did give me enough of an insight into that world to know that it is enormous and highly skilled. So looking through the website of the Australian Society of Authors is to me, as an as yet unestablished writer and avoider of all things fine print, frankly terrifying.
Ok, so I can handle a contract, and rates of pay seem fairly approachable, but all that stuff about digital rights management, applying for grants, negotiating book deals, taxation, hell, even getting a book to the point of publication – I feel distinctly underprepared, uninformed and young – although I cannot claim that distinction anymore.
Does anybody else feel like that? Do people baby step you through it? I mean, aren’t we writers? Don’t we just deal with the writing end of it?
I feel that the older I get, and the less experience I have with such things, the more I want to pedal rapidly in the other direction when confronted with it. You mean I have to read these forms? Know these laws? How do I apply for a grant? I have no idea. And I don’t want to. Every fibre of my being resists those dry, endless bureaucratic lists of ever-changing hoops, whether out of fear or boredom or preservation of my sense of joie de vive, I don’t know which either.
So my only solution to my terror (and not a bad one) is to bury my head into the sand of my writing. I might not be getting any closer to being a professional author with all that under my belt, but I am getting more writing done. One thing at a time. One day at a time. One page after another. One day my guide will appear for the rest. I hope!