Like any writer, I have dreams of being successful. I’d love my books to be broadly available all over the country – even all over the world. I’d love to have kids (and adults) reading my books in homes everywhere. I’d like to be talked about approvingly in the media – in book review journals and on telly. In short, I’d love to be a writing superstar.
People have many different reasons for wishing to be successful. It may be financial – they need the money to survive. It may be personal – more about ego gratification. But for me, I have another motivation. Another reason for wishing, even dreaming, of being successful as a writer. It’s a little out of the ordinary, and I daresay it doesn’t reflect too well on me, but I’m afraid I can’t deny it.
Whenever I read a book, or watch something on telly, or go to the movies, I can’t stop myself being super critical. That plot point didn’t work. The writer made the wrong decision there. This is totally devoid of (fill in the gap – structure, drama, coherence, characterisation, humour, anything else I can think of).
Why might that be? I could say that it’s because as a writer, I am expert in all these areas. I know everything there is to know about structure, drama, coherence, characterisation, humour, and anything else I can think of, which makes me well equipped to recognise the weakness in everybody else’s work.
I like to tell myself that this is the reason. But I suspect there’s a far simpler explanation. When I really consider my motives, I recognise why I’m doing this.
I’m jealous of all those other writers who have been more successful than me. The ones who’ve managed to get their books, not just into print, but also into mainstream circulation. The ones who’ve had their stories turned into actual movies or TV shows. Basically, all the ones who’ve been able to achieve what I have not.
It’s a real bummer being jealous all the time. It really impacts how much I’m able to enjoy life in general. I’d really like to be able to watch or read without criticising what I watch or read to bits.
And that is why I really need to be successful.
Once I’m successful, there’ll be no further need to be jealous. I’ll be up at the top of the heap, with all those other writers. I’ll no longer feel the urge to pick apart everything they do. I’ll be comfortable in my success, and fully able to appreciate the success of others.
So come on world. Listen to my plea. To wipe that green hue off my face, please let me be a success.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as