Someone commented on one of my blog posts recently. This was totally amazing because (a) I don’t get many/any comments and (b) the post was ancient. I mean, really ancient. I had to google it to find it because I couldn’t find it myself on my own website! Ugh, yes, I know, I’m not very organised. I blame my writingness for that. I’m VERY organised when it comes to writing. It’s just everything else I couldn’t be bothered with. Anyway, it was a nice comment, if a tad misspelled, but rereading the blog did get me thinking.
The blog post was about being a late bloomer. When you reach my age and you still haven’t made it, you can only pray that are a late bloomer. No one wants to think of themselves as utterly deluded. I quite often think my lack of success an as an author boils down to the fact that I know I haven’t got what it takes to push myself. It takes more than just writing a good novel. It’s all that other stuff, like promoting oneself if you’re self-published, then engaging on social media, taking out a second mortgage (if you’re lucky enough to have a first one) to pay for advertising, producing tweets that go viral, getting a hundred billion likes on FB, writing blogs that people actually read………the trouble is, I baulk at the “other stuff”. I’ve tried and found I’m not very good at it. I’d rather go off into dreamland and write another novel. In the olden days (in other words, everything prior to the digital era), a writer could get away with this. An agent or publisher did all the work for them. I don’t think they do anymore, other than get your book published for you and push it somewhat, but I’m going to presume they must be an asset otherwise I wouldn’t STILL be trying to find one. The other factor is that there seem to be an awful lot of writers nowadays. It never really used to be like this. My twitter feed is a flood of writers, all frantically trying to get everyone’s attention and sometimes succeeding too. There is nothing more disheartening than watching people who are a quarter your age writing absolute garbage and getting it gloriously published and/or made into a TV series. I don’t mean to say that I think I’m better than they are – I think I’m just the same. I write garbage too. But clearly it’s the wrong garbage because it doesn’t interest anyone at all, least of all an agent.
Anyway, before I get going on my huge self-pity rant, I’m going to reproduce the original blog here which was written in 2018.
I realised this week that I can at best be described a late bloomer. The fact that I haven’t actually bloomed yet makes it later still! After a horrible week, full of cruel disappointments and an appalling writing crisis, telling myself that I am still to bloom is about all I’ve got to keep me going. It’s the positive flip-side to “total failure.” It also helps (though not much) to alleviate the sickening green envy I feel when twenty-two-year-olds win major writing awards and publication deals because, obviously, I wanted to be that 22 y.o. when I was 22. I wanted to be a child star. And the rather lonely, neglected, nightmare-filled child inside me STILL wants to be that star.
So I’m having to placate myself with the fact that many extremely successful writers only found that success very late. I’m sure I’m not the first “ageing” writer to tell myself, again and again, like a mantra “late bloomer, late bloomer, late bloomer…..” in the vague hope that it will cheer me up.
After all, don’t late bloomers bloom the most beautifully?
Looking for “late bloomer” quotes online made me raise several eyebrows, though. Those quotes by people who say they only bloomed in their twenties……..how is that late blooming? From my positively ancient viewpoint, anything below 50 to me is still spring-chicken country.
Wikipedia got it right, though; however, did they have to put “child prodigy” at the top of their “see also” list – right under late blooming authors??!