Monday, 17 October 2011

The road to writer stardom...

...looks like a beautiful tree-lined avenue when viewed on Google Maps, and like many others I was tempted to take a stroll.  Like a rainbow, you can’t quite see where it starts or where it ends, but there are tags near the far end showing the location of buildings such as Fame Villas and Money Mansion. 

It only looked to be about two hundred yards long, so I set off at a jog and soon realised that I hadn’t been looking at the scale properly.  I also hadn’t noticed the side roads branching off every few yards, or that the road had a huge camber which would propel you into an off-ramp before you knew it.

The first side road I came across was Lethargic Lane.  Who knew that writing could take up so much of your time?  I leave the house to go to work just before seven in the morning and I get home just before four in the afternoon.  Fine, plenty of time to do some writing.  But then  as soon as you walk through the door there are your daughters and they both want a piece of Daddy.  Once they’ve had their fill it’s Mummy’s turn to catch up on the day’s events, followed by dinner and a spot of reading with the girls.  After they’ve had their bath and are finally settled down for the evening it’s time to turn on the laptop and see what’s been happening on Twitter.  New friends to greet, people to thank for the shoutouts, mentions and retweets, then a scroll through the lists to see what my friends have been up to.  With Twitter and the rest of my emails dealt with it’s time to open the book and add to that word count.  Trouble is, by this time the Sandman has been round and he’s been extra generous with me, so after a couple of paragraphs my eyes are screaming for sleep.  Off I go to bed, and wake at five the next morning to do it all again. 

Every time I glance down Lethargic lane, with its comfy sofas and widescreen TV, I get the occasional pang of jealousy, but that isn’t the road I want to take.

To the right we have Disillusionment Drive, and I must admit I have taken a few steps down there.  The trouble is, it looks a pleasant enough road, sloping down to a beautiful lake with a quaint old pub on the shore.  Unfortunately you never realise how slippery that slope is until you’re on it.  One of my daily rituals is a quick surf to see if anyone hated the first book, Gray Justice, and a visit to the Amazon reports page to see how many sales I had that day.  While the reviews have been four stars and above, the sales figures haven’t moved in weeks.  How can that be?  Were the reviewers just being kind?  Is there a blog somewhere that slates Gray Justice and tells everyone to avoid it like the plague?  Maybe if I just go a for a couple of pints in that pub I can forget about writing and everything will be okay…

Thankfully I have friends who pull me back before the momentum builds.  “Snap out of it and get back on the right road, Alan!”

So I trudge along Stardom Lane, the wind in my face and the rain lashing me from every angle.  I see others all around me, all making the same journey.  I watch the occasional fellow traveller take a side road while others cruise past me in their reader-powered limousines, tearing off into the distance to claim their reward, whatever it may be.  I often yearn for a lift from one of them, but I know that if I did that I would never reach the end of the road. 

It is a journey I have to make by myself (with my friends to guide me).


  1. I tell you what Alan, I am with you on that road brother! Soaking wet, slightly envious, but trying to be patient and determined. It might take a while, but one day we'll get there.

  2. Hi Alan, What a great post and I agree with Peter above in that you are not alone!

    Every writer visits at least one of those two roads in addition to: Frustration Lane, Edit Crescent, and Promotion Walkway to name a few.

    We will all get there in time and the road travelled will be worth it. Hang in there :-)

    Becky - Mystery Writers Unite (


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