My feelings about teaching, coaching, training and generally encouraging writing are contradictory.
On the one hand, I see an industry springing up around writing and digital publishing that has everything to do with Ego and very little to do with the art or craft of writing. I see endless courses by endless self-proclaimed experts charging some pretty serious money to learn how to write a novel, a memoir or a history and how to self-publish it and make money from it.
The problem with this is that if one looks at the publishing industry figures, this sales pitch does not stack up. It’s a bit like the coaching industry… The only people really making good money, are the people giving the courses. The people who take the courses carry on… well, doing whatever they did before.
In publishing, like music, there are still some huge names out their making larges piles of money out of books. It’s a tempting scenario. But it’s not even the tip of the iceberg. It’s the tip of the tip. The rest of the icy mountain is everyone else who shares the 10% of the rest of the money that there is in publishing.
But in contrast, I feel that writing is a gift and a joy, and if there are people out there prepared to dedicate time and effort to help other people to get better at it, then that’s fantastic. And what’s more, I like to do it myself. I also happen to know and like some awesome groups of people who run amazing businesses helping people become better writers, manage their expectations and navigate the business of writing.
So, this is a disclaimer. Over the next few months, I am going to be sharing what I have come to term the 1003 Writing Tips. These are not going to turn you into Stephen King or JK Rowling overnight. Nor are they going to give you access to a massive market and a cult following. But they will hopefully give you what they gave me: more joy and confidence in my craft. A sense of achievement that is benchmarked only by my own standards.
Make no mistake. I would love to be a world-famous novel-publishing author who doesn’t hold down anything else as a job and is invited to speak and lecture all over the world. I would describe that as pretty much my dream job. But I am not that person. Maybe I will be one day. What I am though, is someone with twenty years of experience of writing a lot. Journalism, TV script writing, voice-over writing, short fiction, fiction, poetry, marketing materials, online journalism, training materials, novels, ghost writing, liner-note writing, opinion columns, blogging.
I have my ten thousand hour sticker here somewhere. So I want to write about that. It’s nice for me to unpack some of what I have learned. Some of it for the first time. Along the way, I hope people will read it. Hell, I hope A LOT of people will read it. I also hope they give me feedback, comments, corrections, additional ideas, reminders and criticisms.
I realised recently that I have been blogging for over ten years. So I also want to say thank you to any and every one that has ever read one of these posts.
Tip number 1? If you want to write… write. Don’t sign up for a course or ask advice, just make a start. Today. Surprise yourself.