Less about me – more about writing

After all the hoo ha of the past couple of weeks, I’m bored with myself. I think that’s a fairly common condition with writers and may perhaps be the saving grace in a profession that’s otherwise like something out of the masochist’s charter. We have to:

• Thrive on rejection
• Strive for excellence
• Cope with meagre wages
• Spend long hours alone.

But for most of us that’s not a problem. We like being outside ourselves. We enjoy the opportunity to explore experiences, places and emotions vicariously, or to find ways of laying out our own direct experience so seductively that the reader is enticed into believing that ‘they’ are ‘there’, seeing ‘that’.

More than almost any other creative profession, writers seem to relish the sublimation of self into fictional character and enjoy surrendering the personal ego to the process of writing a fully-rounded literary personage. Of course it has its problems – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never came to terms with his creation: Sherlock Holmes, and JK Rowling had hordes of fans begging her to write more (or less) of certain characters in her Harry Potter series, but generally, the writer who finds a personality that enthrals them and that can support a short story, play or novel is a happy writer.

I’m always wondering what makes a writer a successful writer, and this seems to be part of the answer – those who write and are able to set themselves aside in favour of a completely artificial personality are those who flourish in the otherwise prickly literary world – and perhaps that’s because we can move away from our personal Faustian hell into a created universe that we can manipulate at will.

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