I was asked by the lovely folks here at Strictly Writing to write ‘some-thing a bit different’ for them. And as, over the past few months, they’re not the only ones who’ve called my writing (or me!) a bit different I realised I had my topic. So, this is a little piece about me, and about being different.
I’m a writer. I don’t work normal hours, I’m not on a salary, I don’t have a degree, so I reckon that does make me a little different to others. And it’s not an easy ride. I have the grumpiest, and most demanding, boss in the world, I have to work harder and longer than I’d like to and everything I do is down to me. So I’m inventing work every day. Constantly making things up. Other people would get sacked for that; I get paid. If I’m lucky.
And there’s also the question of what I make up, the work I produce: is that different too? Probably. I don’t work to a brief, I’ve no projects clients have given me. I’m creating something that no-one has asked for and I constantly run the risk that it’s something no-one will want.
So why do I do it?
Well that part, mostly, is easy to explain. Forgetting the financial side of things, writing is interesting. It’s exciting. It’s fun. It’s something that I want to do.
I like diversity. I like things to be interesting, I like to be interested. I like having the opportunity to write about whatever subject I like, whatever interests me, and that, by its nature leads to lots of different things: different genres, different forms, different subjects et al. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes I get it wrong. No, often I get it wrong. But it’s the trying that’s fun, the challenge, the discovery, the finding things out. And of course the joy when it works takes some beating too.
I’ve been asked, many times, why I don’t stick to a particular genre or length (why I write so many different things), and I think my answer is: because I don’t have to. And that’s with no disrespect to anyone who does. I guess there’s a danger than I’m a jack of all trades, not an expert - but it doesn’t feel as though I’m either. I’m not an expert, I’m still learning, and I hope that continues for many a year; but I’m still a writer, and as a writer, it’s up to me what I write about; it’s my responsibility. That’s not to say that I can be flighty, everything has to have a point, it’s not frivolous (well, no more than writing anything can be) but there are so many stories to tell, and all of them are different.
If I’m interested and, in some small way, interesting, then I’m happy. Even if that makes me a little bit different.
And I’ll bet I’m not the only writer who feels like this.