Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Everyone has a book in them but it is it readable?

Eye write 
Everyone is a writer these days it seems. How is this so? Do people have more time on their hands? Is it because it is so easy to self publish these days? Is it the zeitgeisty thing to do? A Gangnam write? A novel write of passage (honk, honk) that is now expected of all of us just because we can (or think we can) like being on facebook or becoming a twit-digit (guilty/guilty).
But really is it write? Sorry right, just cannot help myself - I am days from giving birth so extra silly. How do we tell if we are any good before launching ourselves heedlessly upon literary waters peopled with paddlers, doggy paddlers (dodgy paddlers? Shades of Grey?) screw kickers, and, far out to sea, those elegantly executing the butterfly stroke on the distant horizon? I know! We will have begun learning to swim at a very young age! Writers read and writers have always written. Here comes the trumpet sound, block your eyes and ears if you do not want to see and hear the rest: I read widely, not as widely as I used to, given the three going on four kids, but reasonably widely - on average a book a week, plus bites of factual stuff and a smattering of short stories and poetry and if I am honest, the occasional trash mag. I also read the Good Book - nearly daily. My reading usually takes place in my 'holiday baths' as my son used to call them - the only place I can really escape to with a book. I have always written, check my bio for details, I don't want to wax lyrical on this now and risk boring you (see I do care!).


Gobbling books, writing reams, and just being a verbal pain in the **** started young, with sentences (for those around me? I was a pedant too) at two (mother says) in three languages - because we were living in Spain and I had a Portuguese father, not because I read dictionaries in other languages and then regurgitated them - I am not that bloody clever - and has continued unabated since, much to the chagrin of my family, in many ways, I am sure. Granted, mothers can be delusional about their kids, but you get the picture. Yes, this sounds like boasting, and reader, it is, but I am trying to demonstrate something other than what a clever clogs I am. You see, just as my husband has a PhD in engineering, and would not try going out and being an engineer without this, I feel I am qualified to write - and not just because of my degrees (you do not have to have these) in English Literature and Creative Writing, writing qualifications should stretch back into the misty past and not be engineered (honk!).

It seems to me that if you are a 'good' writer, or 'good enough' this will have become apparent at a young age. You will have read and written voraciously, won all the prizes at school and then gone on to win further in wider arenas. If you are a 'good writer' you were most likely 'outed' in this way at a young age. People: not just parents and friends, but teachers and other writers, say, will have told you so. Sooner or later, you will have won prizes and achieved enough recognition to have gathered the confidence to actually write a book, which generally takes years and years. 

It is possible however, that having got to the book writing stage, your books may never be published and you may not get the recognition you deserve. What is good or helpful, in this current swamped climate of self publishing, is that amongst the reams and reams of not very good stuff (as far as I can tell having been asked to read a lot of it) there are some hidden gems that may not have been read were it not for the current publishing trends. And, not all the commercially published stuff is good, of course this is subjective, though the not good do seem to die. Eventually. I believe that if you are good, word will get round. Eventually.

Of course, everyone has the right (see I didn't do it that time) to have a crack at writing at any time, and if people want to read it, of course, that is fine. However, perhaps one needs to be a little more considered before foisting ones 'book' on an overcrowded market. I think we do need to take a long hard look at ourselves and ask whether we are really qualified or whether we are going to make our friends and relations squirm with embarrassment. 

PS If you can guess what book I am reading I will send you a *free signed copy of my book. 

* I will have to charge postage, there are limits. Message me: author@emilybarroso.com

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