May 11, 2013 in Dag

Here tomorrow, gone today

I’m pleased. I managed to come up with a nifty title for my blog today.

I’m even more pleased. I have a little bit of an idea of what I might actually write about.

It’s something I’ve seen mentioned over and over in the world of independent publishing: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. That’s all very well, but sometimes I wonder how long the race is meant to last. 

I have to admit, I’m quite partial to sprinting. I’m actually a pretty quick runner. Or at least I was, back in my younger days. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you the last time I broke into a serious run (although recently I have had a few races to try and catch a tram, and I can tell you I was seriously pooped afterwards).

But I understand the whole marathon vs sprint thing. We can’t expect to be overnight successes. It takes a lot of time and work (and most likely luck) to get yourself to the pinnacle of writing success. The question I have is, how long is that marathon meant to last?

It seems that for some people, the marathon is substantially longer than for others.  Take as examples some of my favourite writers. Douglas Adams is a good case in point. When Hitch-hikers guide came out, he seemed to become a big writing star out of the blue. But if you look closely at the biography on his book blurbs, and all the different jobs he had done, you realise that it didn’t just happen overnight. There was more than a bit of work before it finally did.

Another case is Kafka. On the surface, not much like Adams, though both did find different ways to write about the absurd. Kafka didn’t get famous during his (short) lifespan. It was only after his death that a friend published the manuscripts (after being told to destroy them). Now, of course, they’re recognised as true classics.

I guess what this is saying is there are marathons and marathons. Some have an end point that is further away than others. And if you know anything about the origins of the word, you know that Pheidippides, the original marathon runner, dropped dead as soon as he had completed his great run.

I don’t want that to be me. I’m more than happy to do the hard yards, and I like the idea of producing something with lasting worth. But I also want to make it to the finish line – and last a bit longer after that too. I don’t want to be here tomorrow, gone today.

Hope you all have a good run too. 

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