Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Making an Impact

Someone on Facebook the other day put a status saying (I'm paraphrasing) that if a raindrop falls in the ocean, no one notices, but if it falls on a lotus leaf it is a beautiful thing. It's all about where you decide to shine.

I keep thinking about this. I'm in an odd place right now with my writing. I want to be successful and on some levels I am, but living in Botswana, or any African country really, there is this pressure that says you're only a "real" writer when you're published in America or in UK.

When I was in London in February I had a peek at what being an African writer published in UK can look like. I know the writer can have some say about how they want things to go, but I didn't like what I saw. It was a bit like a raindrop falling in the ocean. Whereas for me right now it's a bit like the raindrop on the lotus leaf. Or is it just big fish in a microscopic pond?

My goal from the beginning was to make a livable income from my writing, from my fiction if I can. I know many find this impossible, writers better than me. But still it's my goal. I care little about fame, in a perfect world only my words and books would go out into the world. I'm trying to find the way to my goal. I don't want books published that are drops in an ocean. What is the point of that?

Finding the way through this industry which is currently in so much flux is complicated. Should I stick with my publishers in Botswana and South Africa? Should I try to get an agent overseas? Should I instead try to get my books published in other African countries? And what about ebooks? I don't know the right way and right now I'm sort of going in all directions. A crazy way, maybe an inefficient way, but I'm hoping one of the paths will show that it is the right one for me. In any case, for now, I'm happy to be writing and finding some success.

I'm curious what you think about this?


Sue Guiney said...

Well, it's a toughie. I had been obsessing about my version of this all through the past year or so -- mainly, do I stay with my small, wonderful indie publisher, or do i start looking for an agent and a big house. But something has shifted in me lately. I realised that (at least for now) I am accomplishing my goals and more -- namely, I'm writing what I can, getting it published, travelling around the world meeting readers and talking about literature. Money? Well....Fame? Ha! Recognition and respect -- kind of yes, among a small few. So I'm happy and hopeful that all this will feed upon itself and grow. The rest of it, for me at least, is ego. What I do know is that I'd never want to find myself in the position of being some big company's mid-lister who gets dropped or ignored. And that's a real possibility with any of these companies. And if that happens to you, you're screwed. So that's what I'm thinking these days. Well...you did ask :-)

Lauri said...

Yes Sue that's it. Being a midlister and getting lost. At least I know THAT I don't want. I agree that if what you're doing is working then I think we must continue, you and I. I did ask and I'm glad you took the time to explain your thoughts. Thanks.

Martin Joel said...

Hey Lauri,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They quite true and rather motivational because there are many of us feeling that same way [one way or another].
I think this feeling of frustration and anxiety is created by the word "3rd world country". The thought is always that '1st' is 'better'.

I think that humans in general, tend to think SUCCESS/HAPPINESS is anywhere but where they are. Its always invisioned in the FUTURE. These thoughts have driven civilisation / colonisation / globalisation.
The important thing is to enjoy the now. The PRESENT. Joy, Peace and Love should be enough in this life. Success is relative to these. Whatever ones idea of success is.

_i shall comment on your business side of things another time :)

Lauri said...

Martin I think you're right success always seems to be in the future. Sometimes we should just stop and say "Okay this is pretty good".