Writing. It’s just about coming up with a good engaging story or a topic that needs examining and then sitting down and writing it, isn’t it?
Well over the last month, I’ve had cause to ponder this, wondering what proportion of my time is taken up with writing and editing and how much with getting my writing to my readers.
Let’s take my latest book as an example. I was fortunate in being able to be fairly productive through the pandemic, though many weren’t as fortunate. Lots of writers might be introverts but even so the pandemic made many of us unsettled, restless, unsure, even doubting our skills. Perhaps because I write for fun without expecting adulation, I am able to avoid beating myself up and enjoy the process of writing. How could I be glum when I was focusing on important themes like dung-fights, farting, tadpole swallowing, insults and brotherly banter. Not only that but I had also to ensure that Himalayan Heist
had plenty of pace and excitement and danger with a storyline woven through that featured smugglers of rare wildlife.
It is a romp of a book and I felt pleased to complete the writing and doubly pleased that Vajra in Kathmandu published it for me. That was last autumn. Then of course with schools closed and events cancelled it was tough managing much promotional work. I thought about other ways of sharing my writing.
Sometimes when I write, I think about the reluctant reader that I was. I’m a little dyslexic and (apart from consuming Conan Doyle’s entire works) only really started reading for pleasure in my early twenties. So when several friends mentioned children or grandchildren finding reading difficult I wondered what I could offer.
My Himalayan wildlife adventure series started out as bedtime stories for my youngest son, so might other children enjoy listening to me read the tale? At first, I dismissed the idea, assuming that listeners would want young actors’ voices, not the scratchy sounds coming from my aged larynx. Then I thought and reckoned it was worth a try. After all I’d recorded my massive A Glimpse of Eternal Snows,
and in doing that learned about the tech and about sound editing. So I went ahead recorded each of the 18 chapters of the book only to discover that Audible wanted an electronic version uploaded to Amazon before any audio.
That news made me glum for a wee while but I’m happy to say that the process of producing an electronic book has become considerably easier than the last time I tried and – with a little encouragement from a friend from Cambridge Writers – I managed to upload a new version of the book, complete with to new jokes, Betty Levene’s lovely accurate animal drawings full of movement and a selection of photographs of various wild animals that I’ve been lucky enough to encounter. And the result is a book suitable for Kindle readers that I have put up on Amazon (click Heist on Kindle
) for a mere £2.99. A snip. The audiobook meanwhile should be out maybe by the end of the month.
So how is my time divided between writing / editing, and hustling / techy stuff? Maybe 50:50. Or maybe the hustling just feels like a great deal more than it should be.