Thursday, March 08, 2007

I don't give a fuck...

...what anyone says, the blogosphere is wonderful.

About eight years ago I was at my wits' end. My business was going bankrupt. I had personal guarantees out for more than a million pounds. I'd put the house up as security. My wife and two young sons we going to be thrown out onto the streets. I couldn't think straight. I lost nearly two stones in weight. My hair started falling out. I couldn't sleep at night. The only thing that stopped me committing suicide was the financial mess I would leave behind.

To keep myself sane I barricaded myself in a cupboard and started writing A Half Life of One. One painful word at a time. Eventually I finished the book. Eventually, miraculously, the financial crisis passed.

A couple of years later I revised the book and sent it off to various agents, with predictable results. No matter. The book had already served its purpose - it had kept me sane. I wasn't too bothered by rejection. I shoved the book into a drawer and forgot about it.

Then I discovered blogging. Eventually I resurrected the manuscript and put it online. Several people read it and kindly gave me some valuable feedback. I re-wrote it yet again and send it off once more. Again rejection followed. No matter. By now the book had taken on a modest life of its own. The site gets around fourteen visits a day. Every day.

When I checked the stats recently I was amused to see that somebody in Hunan in China was reading it at the same time as someone from the Army Information Management Directorate in Illinois. Three different worlds meeting in the most unlikely way.

When you think what the book's fate would have been before the invention of the internet I think it's all rather miraculous.


  1. After my recent dive into fiction blogging with Diana's Diary, I know exactly how you feel.

    I was positively thrilled to find people in China reading it, people in the UK, Singapore, and even Alexandria! Someone even took the time to go back and read all the posts from January's urban adventures (my personal favorite) forward.

    Exciting stuff!

    We do write for our sanity. And for fun, and to share. Or at least I do. And it sounds like you do, too.

    Sure, publication would be nice, but when you look at how much work it is for so little reward, it's almost more fun to throw your stuff on the web and enjoy what the stat counter brings you. After all, if you publish in your own country, what are the chances someone in Argentina will ever read it?

    At the very least, we know we won't find unsold copies of our heartfelt magnum opus sitting on the $1 book rack, with the recycling vat their next stop. :-(

    There may not be much glory in what we're doing, but most published writers go unnoticed, too.

  2. P,

    Do you think either of them know you dress up like the Queen every now and then? I don't suppose it'd matter ...


  3. Shh, Mr Blue - there are important people who read this blog. Don't mention Queen's, dictatorships, parties or say the word 'fuck' too often.

    Pund, did you use the story behind the book as a selling point? Just a thought.

  4. Good post, Pundibuckle. It is good to keep persepective in all this ... we are here, life goes on, our writing serves a purpose as soon as the words float out of our heads! Anything else is bonus! :)

  5. Right on, Mr P. Could not agree more. Well put, as ever. (By "well", I mean better than I could have done.)

  6. Good for you, Pundy!
    It's an individualistic venture, isn't it, a writer's aspirations and ambitions.
    And it's there for the taking: online publication, trade or a fair mix of both.
    And there are creative contracts and options, even with the internet and also with trade.
    Which to me, is what makes, the prospect of a readership so exciting.
    If you know what you want, why give a fuck.
    I know what I want and I don't.
    I had to work hard for my blog, to build an audience, to display my writing.
    It wasn't difficult and only took awhile.
    Then readers came and many have become friends in real time, they visit often, they write privately and have stayed on for months.
    It just depends what you want and how far you are willing to go to make it happen. Then again, you could sit back and watch it all unfold.
    To call the shots and run the distance, is a writer's solitary decision, I would think.
    All the very best.

  7. To be read is one of the primaries, isn't it?

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  9. Miraculous? It is. And we are.