I have an increasing conviction that I need to be writing; disciplined, long-form writing with a view to publication. The grass withers, the flowers fade, news articles disappear almost as soon as they are written, but books seem to last.
Running the marathon was a massive commitment. But a writing life will be harder and lonelier, and it won’t be as healthy. And after all that work, maybe publishers will simply judge my work substandard, and it will all have been a waste.
Is it worth even starting, when the goal seems remote, distant and uncertain? For a start, I don’t presume to think that I’ll be any good – I’m completely untested at long-form. This seems like a huge gamble. Could you train a year for a marathon only for someone to tell you that you don’t know how to run and never will?
Perhaps a few small things give me hope. I) I’m reasonably good at discipline, which seems to be a key skill for a writer, II) I’ve already started listening to podcasts for writers, as well as general cultural podcasts, III) I read a fair bit, though I’d stop short of calling myself well-read, IV) I’ve based a lot of my professional life so far on writing, even if it’s not in the book-length field V) I blog (though with frequent errors, I know), VI) I have a slight philosophical bent, and a touch of humour, both of which seem to work well in high-brow long-form, VII) my writing would almost certainly be focused on Ivory Coast, for which almost nothing exists in English.
On the downside, I’m not currently writing, and I never have (in the sense of long-form). As a white Brit writing about West Africa, I’ll probably be rather unpalatable in the very field I want to be a part of.
At least in the modern age, one can self-publish online as a last resort to rescue something from failure.
Just don’t start asking me how my book’s coming on.