Yesterday I went to the launch of “Hush Hush” by Mel Sherratt. Mel is a local author, born and bred in the Potteries who has had a huge success with her thrillers.From starting out as a self-published writer in 2013, she is now a best-selling author, who has reached the pinnacle of a million sales.
For many of us this is the height of achievement, to be able to spend your time writing and not only to make a good living out of your passion but also to be recognised and feted for what you not only love, but are driven to do, must be the best thing in the world.
It comes, however, at a price. In the early days Mel worked full time, came home, blogged, which is how she built up her readership and wrote. She got up early, she worked every evening and weekend, often late into the night.
And it paid off. She is a full time writer, and a great commercial success.
Working as she does, she follows the footsteps of writers like Antony Horowitz who writes every single day of the year, including holidays with his children and Christmas. This is how Dickens worked and Trollope too, while Lee Childs dedicates a complete six months of every year to writing his next best-seller.
I am full of admiration for her, but am I willing, or indeed able to pay that price?
For me, writing is a passion, is something that I have done since childhood, something that I am driven to do. I would write even if I knew there was no one out there to read it. However, I simply could not dedicate the hours to it that she does.
I like to spend time with my family and my friends. To be out there in the garden, or go for long walks along the canal. To give myself time to chill.
And all this feeds into my writing. It’s often on a walk that I get an idea for a book or a story, the same is true of talking with people, looking at paintings, listening to music, or doing something I haven’t done before.
So maybe, I will never be able to post proudly on Facebook that I have achieved a million sales, but as Mel said, we can all choose our level of success, for some it’s commercial and financial, for others just the joy of having produced a book that others will enjoy.
Ultimately, as writers and people, we make our own choice. What matters is that is the right one for us.
PS my children’s book “City of Secrets” is out at the end of October.