Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Friday 31 August 2012

Incandescent... Moi?

If we only get one chance, in this life, surely it behoves us to take it?

I become, frankly, incandescent with... well, not so much rage (not a terribly angry person), as disappointment* when I see someone letting what might be his only opportunity slip through his fingers, and all for what? Well, in this instance for the want of effort, it seemed to me.

People just don’t try, do they?

Here you go, have a platform, have somewhere to show what you can do, take the stage, write something, see it in print, this person was told.

What was his answer?

His answer, this person who calls himself a writer; his answer was, I’m not really feeling it, and I don’t want to force anything, and it might be better to wait until the spirit moves.

Some of you might be able to imagine what my answer would have been had this been someone I knew well enough to scold: say a very close friend of very long standing, a brother, a son or, if we were back in 1952, a student in my charge. Some of you might be able to imagine that I might have said something like, “Call yourself a bloody writer! Step aside, fool, and let someone who’s prepared to work at it have a go, and don’t expect any sympathy from me when you’re still pushing in a pen in a crumby office in another twenty years. Idiot!” 

What this person was actually told was something along the lines of, No pressure.

No bloody pressure, my fundament!

If and when you can name you price for your next novel, and if and when you can afford to produce a book a decade, and if and when the World adores you enough to give you... I don’t know... a bloody Nobel Prize for Literature, then you can tell me you’re not feeling it, but until you’re published, if you’re offered an opportunity to showcase yourself or your work then give the spirit a hefty kick in the breeches and get the damned thing moving. That’s your one chance, Buster, and it’s a slippery little sucker.

*Incandescent with disappointment isn’t cutting it, is it? but I am incandescent... I am, I tell you!


  1. As somebody who dreams the dream but literally hasn't had the time/energy to properly pursue it for about a year now, I am in total agreement. As soon as I have moved house (tomorrow) and actually have a normal(ish) routine , I intend to be battering my muse into co-operation at every opportunity. Starting with writing a regular blog. That's a promise Aunty Nik :)

  2. I've known a few people do this, and yes it pisses me off. I wrote my first novel (thankfully never published) whilst on maternity leave. I wrote the second in the last year while I a) work 40+ hours a week b) emigrated c) have a three year old son and d) am arranging the Expo in my "free" time. It is currently going through a major redraft, again done under the circumstances listed above. And I still managed to get three shorts out on submission as well (waiting on those). Oh, and I've got another in mind as soon as I've finished the edits for the current WIP.

    If I can write and be creative whilst under the type of pressure I have been under this last twelve months, then quite frankly anyone can. Never wait for the muse to strike, you just work until she gets jealous and starts to contribute.

    I've taken every opportunity that comes my way, even when it usually leads me so far out of my comfort zone that I lie around thinking, "holy shit why am I doing this to myself?" Sure I haven't got that holy grail of a book deal yet, but I sure have had a lot of very talented people help me improve my skills along the way. I'm so grateful for that, and it has improved my work.

    I wish I could be less judging of other aspiring authors, but I have to admit there is a sting of jealousy when I hear of people wasting opportunities like the one outlined in your blog post, though, because all I can think is, "hey why don't you give me a shot at it?"

    1. You'll get your shot, and it's good to know you'll capitalise on it when it rolls into town. Go you!

  3. diamonds are created by immense pressure, in incredible temperatures, and brought from over a hundred kilometeres below ground to the surface during a volcanic eruption ...

    pearls are created through accidental intrusion followed by significant irritation, and thus rarely occur, except through sheer numbers with the possibility ...

    needless to say, some of the most appreciated or valued things in life rarely "just happen", they can take time, and forces which, at the time, may be considered negative or even detrimental.

    but most of all, it requires harnessing the situation when it's presented! (strike while the iron is soft and all that)

    imho, if one plans to match inspiration with perspiration, it'll require either hard work, being in "the hot seat", or both. more often than not you can't wait for the situation to present itself, you have to go to where the situation is.

    "A waste of mankind's promise." ;)