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Friday, 16 March 2007


There's no money in it. Anyone who knows anything about writing knows there's no money in it; Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" (my favourite poem) sold for a pathetic $15, and that's one of the most famous poems in the WORLD probably maybe! So if the improbable should happen, and I achieve my life's ambition of publishing a book of poetry, I won't make much (if anything) from it at all.

But here's the thing: I don't care.

I don't care if I don't make a penny. I'd quite happily lose money, quite a lot of money, if it meant that people would be reading my poems. If it meant that I was a published poet (ah, there we see the vanity that lies at the heart of every artist)!

I was trying to remember, earlier today, why I write poems. How I started. When it all began. It's the sort of thing they make you do in school, and I know I was fairly good at it then. I recall amazing a friend when I was eight or nine with my astonishing ability to think of words that actually rhymed. I thought it was odd that nobody else seemed to find it as easy as I did, a sentiment that's stayed with me if I'm brutally honest!

I think I discovered poetry in earnest at approximately the same time as I discovered boys. Yes, I'm sure I did; I wrote a beautiful, yet toe-curlingly embarrassing love poem about a boy (not TO a boy, I still had some self-respect) that I then showed people (probably, knowing me, with the classic line "Read this, it isn't very good") and they seemed to like. So from then on, whenever I needed to do some serious spleen-venting, or had some spare angst that I wanted to share, or if I just wanted to make people laugh, I would write a poem. And after approximately five years of that, I think I'm really rather good.

If it seems to you that this post is quite vain and conceited, let me assure you that I'm under no illusions as far as my talent goes. I'm good, but not great - and poetry is after all my only skill. I'm not very musical, atrocious at sports, not the best actor in the world, my art skills are average at best, et cetera - but I will always have my way with words.

Well, that and beatboxing.


  1. i wouldn't say poetry was your only skill, but you certainly can't have everything.

    i liked hearing how it all began! very interesting!

    and yes, no true writer writes for money. those that do are sad. those of us who have a way with words and love it realise that writing is not just about writing text, titling it and passing it to people as "a poem" or "a novel", but we know our gift can be used to create art always. these blog posts are art - they're sculpted with the same care as a poem or story. when we write letters, post comments or talk to friends, we writers like to sculpt our words into something pretty to listen to or read.
    having a way with words is something to enjoy 24:7, not something to only use when there's money involved.

  2. Hahah, I like to think I'd put more effort into a story or a poem ;) Blog posts are a bit of a skive actually, fast cheap and easy!

    But yeah, I agree that money can't be your motivation. If money's what you're after, become an accountant.

    ... That said, how awesome would it be to be a full-time writer? ;)

  3. ben's a part-time writer, you can ask him.

    blog posts are fast, cheap and easy, but i still spot your way-with-words in there, it's not something you turn on or off.

  4. oh, i forgot to mention - i like "the raven", although my only experience of it was the simpsons version (so so funny!)

  5. Poetry is an odd bird because it is a field in which you can pay to be published - indeed, as you say, it can be the only way - and still maintain your reputation. In whatever the opposite is - non-poetry? - paying is the kiss of death to being taken seriously.

    I think being a full-time author in the Rowling field - where you never have to worry about income again - might be awesome. If also dull. Being a full-time author where you can't guarantee income - like most of them - is way too scary. Give me the full-time job, with tax, national insurance & pensions all taken care of, any day.

  6. I've never really seen full-time writing as an option, just as a supplement I guess. I have no clue what my job will end up being. Scary.

    Although, having seen Music and Lyrics today, I kept thinking "I could do that. I could totally do that."


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