Shouting into the darkness

Lately, I have done two major things. I’ve entered some of my paintings in an exhibition, and started to get the ball rolling on publishing my novel ‘The Artemis Effect’ on Amazon.

And this has led me to something of a minor crisis of character. Let me explain.

The art exhibition, which I will post more details on closer to the opening, is open to all comers. The similarity to self-publishing is rather obvious here. However, on the day when everyone delivered their work to the gallery, two things became apparent.

Firstly, there were A LOT of entries. I mean, they had books rather like the ones you see when you go to vote, sorted in alphabetical order. Curiosity dictates that of course you have to peek at what the other artists have done, although we’ll get to see everyone’s work once it is hung in the exhibition proper. And it was sadly evident that although some of the work being handed in was a bit ordinary, some of it was amazing! Work I could never have done and would never have thought of.

I’ve also been doing a fair bit of reading on the net of recently published short stories, and likewise, they are often in a style I could never emulate, and really strong stuff. I have no desire to mimic someone else’s style: I’m pretty sure that there is a song by The Cure called ‘Jumping Someone Elses Train’ which would sum that one up. What is more worrying is that partly due to the explosion of self-publishing of ebooks, the volume of work out there is just phenomenal.

They always say that good work will stand out regardless, but I just I’m wondering if that is really the case? Well, there’s no harm in giving it a try!

As for the issue of never being able to do work like other people, I guess the thing to remember is that they can never do work like me either, for better or worse! Don’t get me wrong – I’m not paranoid about the novel. I think it’s a fun read, and people who have read it, were kind enough to say that it is real page turner. My only real wish in this is that people have a chance to read and hopefully enjoy the stories which sprout from my brain.

What are your thoughts? Does the volume of work out there bother you? Do you cast envious glances at other authors writing?

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2 thoughts on “Shouting into the darkness

  1. I’m glad you said it: “they can never do work like me either.” This is such an important realization. The next step is to learn to understand what exactly your contribution is so you can feed it and maximize it.

    It’s difficult to see what your gift is. After all, a fish never thinks to himself, “Wow, I’m a really great swimmer.” But, trust me, it’s there. Good luck!

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