Writing Is NOT My Hobby

Writing for DummiesWhen I first started out writing in 1998, it was a long time before I considered I was qualified enough to call myself a “writer”. It came with the publication of my first short story in May 2004 (Once a Borderer), but even after this success (minor to some, major for me), I still found it extremely hard to actually admit to being a writer in public. I use the word “admit” deliberately, because back then I felt, amongst other things, that nobody would take my claim to being a writer seriously.

I think it’s a mental line that all writer’s have to cross at some point in their lives; the question of what makes one person a “writer” and another a “wannabee”. I mean, what does it take to be a writer? Do you have to be paid, merely published, be writing full-time, or simply put pen to paper on a regular basis? It’s a struggle from day one, but eventually the line gets crossed, and certain realisations come to the fore in your own mind which help to answer them all. It’s an awesome feeling when someone asks, “what do you do?”, and you can confidently and proudly reply: “I’m a writer”.

But with that admission comes a new beast. In this weeks Writer’s Relief newsletter is an article called, Conversation With a Writer, which depicts exactly the kind of annoyances faced by all writers once they have crossed the mental line. I’ve reproduced the article here, because for anyone who isn’t a writer, this snippet of conversation says it all.


Conversation With A Writer
Courtesy of Writers Relief.

It’s hard enough to slog away at the craft of writing without having to explain yourself along the way. What have you written? Why haven’t I ever heard of you? So, you’re a real writer? If you’re a doctor, no one asks you if you’re a “real” doctor-why isn’t the same courtesy afforded to writers? Or how about the people who imply that they, too, could easily be a published author if only they had a wee bit more free time. It’s a frustrating career to explain at any rate. And if you recognize a version of the following conversation, you have our sympathy.

Oooh, you’re a writer? Have I ever heard of you?

Er…

Got any of your books at Barnes and Noble? Like Stephen King?

No, not yet.

Oh, so it’s just a hobby then?

Grrrrrr.

I used to write too; in High School.

Yeah, I used to scrawl graffiti on the bathroom walls too, but that doesn’t make me a writer.

Gosh, it’s so romantic to be a writer. Maybe someday I’ll write a book and get rich!

Yes, I’m sure you will. It’s virtually guaranteed.

Hey, you should send your stuff to a publisher!

Hey, I already thought of that, but thanks for the brilliant idea!

So, what do you write?

Oh, you know, those little warning labels on wart-removal packages. Oh, and the instructions on jars of wrinkle cream.

Where do you get your ideas?

I bid for them on eBay. Sometimes there’s a two-for-one special at the dollar store.

Hey, I know what you should write about! My cousin has this friend, you know, this real interesting guy who…

Sorry. Must go. The smack-your-face-against-a-wall store is having a sale today, and I wouldn’t want to miss it.

Click on the link to visit Writers Relief. Subscribe – they’re a good lot.

Anyway – onto other things – back in November when I bought my dad’s Christmas present (those tickets for Aussie Pink Floyd) I neglected to inform my sister, who then went and did the same thing but for the Glasgow leg of their European tour. So in the spirit of togetherness and family love, I took my sister’s spare ticket. And so yesterday afternoon I found myself back on the train to Glasgow to see Aussie Pink Floyd for the second time in two days. Given the quality of the set I witnessed two nights ago, I knew it was going to be awesome.

Today was another scorcher, so after arriving at Lindsay’s flat we paid a visit to the Clockwork Orange pub on Cathcart Road and had a nice dinner. We then took our drinks outside and sat in the beer garden for a couple of hours, shooting the (non-existent) breeze and having a wee bevvy.

No need for anything other than a t-shirt for the way to the gig, which is quite something considering Glasgow was under a hail of rain and thunder the same time last week. The gig itself was in the SECC armadillo theatre, which although has less seats than the Playhouse, has a much bigger stage.

The gig was as you wouls expect, awesome. They played the exact same set as two night’s previous, which suited me fine. The only main difference I could tell was the back screen was able to be displayed in full, and the presence of a giant inflatable pink kangaroo that bounced around on stage during One Of These Days, both due to there being no restrictions with stage size.

On the downside was the Glasgow audience, which normally I have nothing but admiration for. A Glasgow crowd really can make the difference between a good gig and an excellent one; take recent concerts I have been to in Aberdeen (Madness) and Edinburgh (Stiff Little Fingers). Both bands get a much more enthusiastic and fun audience when they play in Glasgow, but not last night, and it was all down to a tiny minority of morons.

The constant getting up and leaving for the bar by a group of about half a dozen pissed-up lads, who annoyed and disrupted the show for everyone in the front row left of the circle, didn’t really affect me, but the never-ending yelling over some of the quieter songs was just plain obnoxious and rude. All it told me was that they don’t have any idea what Pink Floyd is about, and have no sense of appreciation.

But it was after Great Gig in the Sky when one bloke shouted out, “Get yer tits out for the lads,” that the audience knew a line had been crossed. Not only was it totally out of place and utterly disrespectful, but it poured cold water over a powerful moment. It was disgusting, and I can only hope and pray that the female singer (who has more talent in her wee toe than all of those wankers put together), didn’t understand the broad accent that it was shouted in. Whoever he is, he’s just another of the wasters that seem to be plaguing Scotland on a whole these days.

That aside, it was an awesome gig. They put on such a strong and explosive final act, and with the auditorium being much more open than the Playhouse, the laser and light effects were able to be appreciated on a much larger scale. When it comes to audience appreciation in this instance, though, Edinburgh won hands down.

After the gig, we got a train home but stupidly, I ran to catch it only managing to bugger up my leg as I did so. Not a good move, because I spent most of today in absolute agony. Thank goodness I have my osteopath visit tomorrow, though she’s probably going to kill me for being so stupid. I can almost feel her elbows in my groin as punishment already.

Today was roasting hot yet again, which really does not sit with me at all. I know I spent the last few months complaining at the day job about how we need some warmth, but I wish they would let us open the windows now to cool down. Yeah – I know I have a cheek.

About Colin Galbraith

Thriller author, music fan, St Mirren fan, fluff chucker, rabbit tamer, outstanding fake faller. Loves cannoli.
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1 Response to Writing Is NOT My Hobby

  1. AM says:

    Couldn’t agree more about Glasgow versus edinburgh audiences. A good Glasgow crowd is the best in the world, but I’ve been to more than one gig at Glasgow where two or three people think they’re still at Parkhead in the jungle era. The support act for New Order at SECC 1989 got this reception – “Show us yer baird” (To the female singer. I doubt she knew what the guy meant, thankfully for her), the keyboard player had some racial epithets thrown at him, along with a few beer cans. And this was a top 20 well regarded band! I’d like to know how these people would’ve reacted if they’d got a crap support act.

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