Sitting in a world of books, otherwise known as Waterstones, a friend and I contemplate our futures now that we have finished university.
He seems to have a pretty decent idea of where he is heading; gap year to earn money, post-graduate course, and then he’ll have his choice of whatever jobs he wants to do in his chosen field of history.
I, on the other hand, haven’t a clue which direction I am going. It’s all well and good saying that I want to be a writer, but I don’t even know what kind of writing I would do; there’s many options and I like the sound of them all to be honest. But even if I did know if I wanted to write novels or preferred to write for magazines, getting there, becoming the writer, is not an easy thing. I wouldn’t know where to begin (and don’t say ‘by writing something’, that’s a given).
Writing this entry, I’ve realised that I am in the second stage of learning, conscious incompetence. The worst stage to be at I think. The first stage is unconscious incompetence; you don’t even realise that you are in the unknown. The third is conscious competence, you are in the know but have to really focus in order to do something. The fourth stage is unconscious competence; you don’t realise how good you are, you don’t even have to think about it.
So here I am in the second stage, very aware that I haven’t a clue of how to go about becoming a writer and all the technicalities that go with it. Even if I did know, would my writing actually be good enough to be published?
Sitting in Waterstones, surrounded by literature’s greatest, I can’t imagine a book of mine sitting alongside them. Maybe I’m just being pessimistic and self-deprecating, but I honestly cannot picture it. I look at these great books and movies too, and think that all that came from someone’s imagination, someone has left a mark on this world in some form or another; a piece of them is out in the world and will prove to people they were here, long after they have gone. To be honest, I often feel a little jealous. I want my mark to be left on this world somehow.
A visiting writer to my creative writing class at uni, once said that in every 3 seconds a book is published in the UK, which seems like good odds, that is a lot of books; however I’ve also been told that thousands of manuscripts can land on publishers desks in a matter of days, of which they will choose only one or two for publication, which aren’t very good odds for leaving my mark on the world.
All I can do really is just keep writing; maybe one day something will be good enough for the world to see, but I need to stop worrying about it. I’m gonna have to get a proper job in order to earn money but I’ll always keep writing on the side and one day, you might see my name, either in the byline of a magazine, or maybe on the bestsellers list. Hey even if something of mine is in the bargain bin, at least I would have been published. And if I don’t get published, at least I’ll have a collection of works that no one else will.
If it’s meant to be or not to be, I want to write, so I will write; I will carry on.