Somebody asked me yesterday if I had a mentor and for a moment I was lost in the dream of what that might be like. A person I could trust, rely on, someone who could support my literary dreams with words of wisdom, insight, a kick up the arse when they see I am spending too much time indulging cat .gifs on twitter.
The problem is, this life is such a solitary one and it is hard sometimes, to see wood for the trees. I mean, how many people does it take to write a book? Well one to write it sure, but a team – nay an army, to make it really, really good. And that is where this unpublished, aspiring wannabe struggles. Perhaps that’s why the slush piles are full of so many not very good books (nestled amongst the brilliant ones just waiting to be picked up, obviously… and then edited to within an inch of their lives by agents, editors and publishers alike)
I’d love somebody who knew what they were talking about to help me. Somebody who could read what I am writing and make suggestions on where I might be going wrong. Because it’s very easy to up your word count going down an unmarked dead-end. I know this, I’ve spent the morning deleting the 3000 words that took me there.
I’m better for it, obviously, as I was the 9000 I deleted before Christmas – but would I have even got that far lost had I someone to act as a sound board? And if I did have that person, what kind of person would they be? There are lots of willing participants in your journey. Friends who are keen to read and then lavish you with praise and love. People in the writing world are generous – one tweet and I’d place money that somebody would respond with time and encouragement and many, many opinions on my story. But just because they would, doesn’t make the relationship right. I want to be supported by someone I respect, not necessarily in the field of commercial fiction, but certainly in the field of writing. Someone who is prepared to say ‘do you know what, you’ve lost me.’ Someone who has been there would help, of course it would – but someone who is on that path too might be just as supportive, if not more so. Perhaps it could be a two way thing. Or perhaps the double dose of neurosis would finish us both off!
Given that I don’t have the funds to pay for someone to do this, I shall wish for it instead. And whilst I am at it, I’ll wish for my other wish too:
– A writing mentor. Someone I respect and admire would be lovely please.
– An agent. Someone I want to build a long standing relationship with. I don’t just want to get published, I want to write the very best book I can write. And then a better one. And then a better one after that. And so on to infinity. And because they are good enough, they will get published and that will be a very lovely thing.
And that’s it. That’s what I want for this year. It’s not quantity, but quality. That said, these two things may prove to be the hardest things I have searched for – over and above the Trio chocolate biscuit bar; can you believe they stopped making those pieces of 1980’s fake toffee, chocolate goodness!? I’m not bitter.
Without these two people I don’t know if I can be good enough to make my dream a reality in the allotted timescale I’ve given myself. With them though, with them I really believe I can. Which is handy when you’ve been deleting more words than you’ve written. It’s just that it would be a whole lot easier if I didn’t get lost on the way! I know. Me and all the other aspiring authors in the world. Nothing good comes easy. Nothing easy is valued. I get that. And if anyone wanted to make those Chocolate Trio biscuits again, I promise I’d not take them for granted.