Hugely impressed by Marian Keyes’ current newsletter.
Far too many people I meet seem to think that being a writer/artist/maker of work is the only goal. That once they get that elusive book deal/acting role/commission etc, everything else will fall into place. Conversely, an awful lot also seem to buy into the have-to-be-mad-to-create myth! That if you don’t have a touch of the tragic hero about you, your work will never amount to much.
For most of us it’s just somewhere in between, like everyone else’s life. My having a bunch of published novels and various plays performed hasn’t made my experience of grief any less, it doesn’t stop the constant sharp pain in my hip (via a couple of crumbling lower vertebrae thank you), it doesn’t make me any less concerned about the health of my loved ones, it didn’t stop me getting cancer and it didn’t make my experience of infertility any easier. (If anything the lack of sick & holiday pay for freelancers can be an extra pressure.)
Making my living by making work IS a great thing, and I’m very glad it’s what I do, grateful to be able to do it – but I and every other writer/actor/director/maker I know, suffers the same day to day concerns as any other person. Some of us manage to get by and some of us don’t. Marian Keyes’ generous honesty will hopefully help to remind us that happiness comes from within, from ourselves, in whatever way we understand it – and NOT from selling your first novel/bestseller/next two dozen bestsellers. By all means we should keep on plugging away at the work, but I’m grateful to be reminded that what I’m doing on the planet right now is about who I am, not what I do for my living.