On Being a Writer by Adam J. Shardlow

The plus side of being a writer…

  1. Never having to wear a suit – As a writer you can wear whatever you like. Ageing shorts and t-shirt combo, distressed jeans coloured with last nights Chinese hoisin sauce, dressing gown that smells of sleep, Goofy slippers and bandanna. You can even do a Hemingway and go naked. This has the helpful economic advantage of keeping laundry bills to a minimum. Basically, you can wear whatever or as little as you like. No one will ever know.
  2. A short walk to work – You get up, breakfast, watch the news and then sit down to work. No having to step out into the wilds of the city streets, no having to deal with dawdlers and bus queue pushers, no having to spare change for the man with drool hanging from the corner of his mouth or avoid the water filled pot hole. You’re at work in seconds, dragging valuable time from the lack commuting that can be put into your current magnus opus. Valuable time that is yours to do with as you wish.
  3. At home during the day – You can order whatever you like and parcels will be delivered straight into your hands. No more worries that delivery companies will push those annoying little cards through your door telling your that you weren’t in (obviously) and your carton of brand new reading material has instead been left at a vast concrete hanger twenty five miles outside of town and you have two days to come and get it before it’s returned to sender.
  4. Time to yourself -You sit and reflect on your current work. You have the time to be creative, to move about your apartment deep in thought, playing creative mind games and dabbling with new forms of writing style and experimental artistic projects. Your time is your own to plumb the depth of creativity. You dictate what you work on and have the freedom to follow the creative flow.
  5. Your own space – You work at a desk in a book lined den. Your MacBook is set up and connected to the world. You have fresh coffee whenever you want it, warmed bagels for lunch. You can listen to your music, relax in your favourite chair and watch the sunset from the panoramic window before you, marvelling at its majesty, as your fingers tap away at those keys.
  6. Forging your own path – You write what you want to write. If you decide the world needs the first ever 1000 page fictional account of the life of a parasitic pinworm, then so be it. You can create works so challenging, so original, so daringly innovative, that your place in the literary canon will be secured for generations to come.
  7. Adoring fans – You have fans who visit your web page every day. They read your blog entries in minute detail and make insightful comments. They hang on your every Twitter and Facebook update, they send you gifts in the post. At signings the queue snakes around the block, each fan asking you in excited, nervous voices for your signature and photo. You give each fan as much time as possible, building your base, cementing sales and a world tour.
  8. Conventions – You get invited to writing conventions where you give inspirational speeches to the next generation, many of whom remember what you say and in turn become writers because of you. Being such a guru they ask you to write the introductions for their next book, your name and fame helping them to carve out lucrative careers.
  9. Agent lunches – Your agent takes you out for expensive lunches at fabulous London eateries to discuss your current work; how it will be marketed, showing you cover designs and giving you the tour details. All the bills are paid and they send you home first class.
  10. Film options – Hollywood, realising the golden egg that you are, beats a path to your door to option your entire back catalogue and turn them into blockbuster movies in which you have sensibly taken a percentage payment, meaning that you can afford to buy property in London, New York and Paris. This fame however, will never change you. You remain a dedicated artist, creating great works of literature.
However…
  1. Never having to wear a suit – You are sitting naked in front of a computer screen in the middle of the day and don’t give a damn.
  2. A short walk to work – You’re fat. You don’t get enough exercise. You barely leave the flat and have worn tracks into the carpet from using the office wheely chair as a convenient method of transport for getting to the kitchen.
  3. At home during the day – Morons and religious freaks, can rattlers and do-gooders, double glazing salesmen, drive tarmac-ing, collection agencies and pedlers. Each and everyone knocks on your door and expects you to answer and contribute.
  4. Time to yourself – You check Twitter, Facebook, web bookmarks, writing blogs and other sites less savoury to mention – normally every hour. You watch the news, then catch a comedy and remember that you recorded a film two weeks ago that needs to be seen. You do the washing, read a comic book, play the latest PSP release. You Skype, IM, text and take a long lunch. You do the ironing and clean the shower, make the bed and cook a meal for the evening and then wonder where the day has gone.
  5. Your own space – You haven’t seen anyone for two weeks. You could die and no one would know until your decaying body juices soaked through the floor into the flat below.
  6. Forging your own path – You haven’t been paid in six months. Your bank statements only come in the colour red.
  7. Adoring fans – Does your Mum count? Really?
  8. Conventions – You never get invited. You have to pay the entrance fee like everyone else and spend the entire weekend in the bar getting drunk.
  9. Agent lunches – You’re not convinced your agent knows your home telephone number and you’ve only met him once. You bought your own coffee.
  10. Film options – You have a Blockbusters membership card. That is as Hollywood as life ever gets.
More about Adam

Adam J. Shardlow is an author. He spends his day sitting in front of a computer making stuff up until his head hurts and he can longer see straight. Many say he writes works of fantasy, others say its science fiction, some shake their heads in irritation and give a long drawn out sigh before claiming the genre is in truth supernatural thriller, whilst one clearly mad individual with a long white beard and rolling eyes chants from a street corner that it is speculative fiction. Whatever it is, it’s his own style, and on these pages you can find some of his works. Others you will have to find in a bookshop. There is also a blog where he can bore you with all the mundanity and minutia of his life.

Visit Adam J Shardlow’s website.

7 thoughts on “On Being a Writer by Adam J. Shardlow

  1. Hmm, maybe I should take off the ugg boot slippers and go for a walk this afternoon…Excellent post, Adam.

  2. Hilarious!I would add “artistic temperament”… to both lists. =)

  3. Very funny. Although I did wonder for a moment if someone’s been peering in my windows. :)Great post, Adam!

  4. *headdesk* What am I doing with my LIFE?? Ah well. I have kids. I’ll just ruin them.Great post and very funny.

  5. HunterValleyYabby2 February 17, 2011 — 10:03 am

    Teehee! Item 4 on the ‘However’ section is both relieving and terrifying: relieving because it’s obviously not just me that does EXACTLY that, and terrifying because why the hell is everone else doing it too??

  6. Hi Adam, funny post, thanks for sharing. I’ve gotten so insular that the inconvenience of having to shower and put on a change of clothes hardly seems worth it just to go out.Eden

  7. Thanks for the support. Nice to know I’m not alone… I’m going to get dressed now.www.adamjshardlow.co.uk@Middlemanlost

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