You can’t manage what you can’t measure is a phrase I learned to hate and that spawned a thousand pointless but amusingly decorated charts to track the sales of spurious spectacle enhancements. This of course leads me to thinking how I measure whether doing this is worth it. Is it being published ? Is it being seen as a “mirror to the world “, as a particularly pretentious songwriter likes to describe herself ? Is it having thousands queue to buy your latest tales of magic and fortitude ?
The answer is that it’s all of these (except the mirror to the world bit, that’s just affected,) happily this list isn’t exhaustive. I had a message a couple of weeks ago from someone who I haven’t seen in years, saying they’d like to be one of my Beta readers. Just having someone interested enough to want to spend a bit of time reading what I’ve written is a tremendous feeling. I was trying to explain to my Dad ( who firmly believes success is measured by whistles and bells and grand reward) why it took falling ill to make me write seriously. Quite simply, I had to. I had nothing left to lose and needed to feel I still had a valid role, beyond trying to maintain domestic bliss. Having made the best of my job for years, it is amazing to be doing something for it’s own sake. Not for me. For what I want to write. Realising this is a tremendous step forward and brings a freedom I’ve not known since producing the angst ridden musings of my twenties. What I have that I didn’t have then is the ability to craft and critique my work, and to seek the criticism of others. I wish I’d learnt this a bit earlier but on the other hand a seventy year old has just been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, so there is always hope.
Can I ask a favour ? Would you like and share this post ? I know it’s a pest, but it means more people will get to see it and that more of my friends might volunteer to join my group of Beta readers. Thank you !