Guest Post: Chris Westlake
The money? I’m sure there are writers who put pen to paper (or the 21st century equivalent) because they have heard of the vast fortunes of writers such as Steven King and JK Rowling and imagine drafting their second, best-selling novel, basking in the sun on the deck of their yacht. Bump. Reality hits. They move onto their next money-making adventure.
Writers soon realise that the literary food-chain is colossus. For every single bestseller stacking the shelves at the supermarkets, there are thousands and thousands of barely visible authors desperately trying to promote their books online. If you write to make money, it is likely you will write ‘The End’ sooner than you think. Asking why somebody becomes a writer and why they stay a writer may prompt very different answers.
So what about my story?
I’ve always written. As a child as young as eight, I’d fill notepads with elaborate stories of monsters and roller-coasters (sometimes monsters on roller-coasters) with plots limited only by the restraints of my considerable imagination. The stories never got sent anywhere. They were never for publication. But I still had my very own appreciative readership. My mum and grandmother would read my stories and I would treasure their enthusiastic comments. I wrote because I loved creating new worlds that were not limited by the predictability of real life. I wrote because I loved developing something that I could be proud of. And I wrote because I loved being read.
And they are the reasons why I still write now. Okay, I do make some money and one day I do hope to give up my day-job, but even if this never happens I know, and on heart, that I will continue writing. I will write because I want to create something better than I ever have before, enjoyed by more readers than my last novel. And I’ll write because I love it.
So why did I decide to write my first novel, Just a Bit of Banter, Like?
Put simply, it felt like the right time. I had graduated to my first novel.
I started off my writing in small, gradual steps. I enrolled on an online writing course. I made some pocket money by having a few letters published in magazines. I won a few writing competitions and came placed in a few more. Having my name in print was a thrill.
It was time.
I did not want to write a complex masterpiece. It was not realistic. It was not time. It was time to write a novel that I could be proud of, though. I chose a location that was close to my heart, the coastal town where I grew up. I developed characters that were engaging and that the reader cared for. The storyline was well-crafted and had real purpose. I drafted and edited and edited and drafted until I had created something that I was truly proud of. And the feedback from friends and publishers was also fantastic.
Just like the stories that were read by my mum and nan when I was a kid.
Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing a guest post with us! To learn more about Chris Westlake you can check out his website and check out his book too!