In my efforts to be more positive I was thinking the other day about what drives people and what the difference is between the also rans and the winners? And relating that to me personally.

Despite my singular lack of quantifiable success in my chosen arts of music and writing, for instance I have no published works as yet (other than a modified academic dissertation on the merits of blended learning – you can still find this if you look hard enough on the Internet – in fact I have just spent an hour searching and I can no longer find it..). But does that make me a failure?

I can point to several aspects of my character and events in my life that perhaps could give some clues as to why you don’t see me name plastered over bedroom walls or a hot topic on the entertainment news. For a start I’ve read countless accounts of how the successful person sacrificed a ‘normal’ life in the pursuit of success: no happy love life, no settling for the ‘easy’ life no friends… perhaps I wasn’t ruthless enough?

I did sack one of my drummers in my ‘band’ days – the guitarist was really good and told me he’d stay if we fired the drummer; I did and he didn’t. She was not the hottest drummer in the world and really just starting out. But we were not the new Beatles anyway and at that stage were struggling to get gigs at local retirement homes! She was very dedicated and I felt so bad I still have bad dreams about it to this day – where are you now Louie Moon (and yes that really was her name but unfortunately no relation to Keith)?

Dedication. That’s what it takes. Well I am dedicated and I’m still trying as I approach my mid-century. I’ve had to sacrifice a mad rush for a steady attack which probably means that even if I did have any musical talent I have probably missed the boat (it sailed without me and they’ve since built a tower block where the quay was – I’ve been trying to extract myself from the foundations but they make the cement pretty tough these days).

With my writing (as with my song writing) I sometimes get a kick and think ‘yes that’s pretty good somebody should like this I should be massive!’ but that only last about a minute or so then it’s back to the day job (and wondering if I should fix the toilet seat first, look at my petrol costs for the week and if I can afford a holiday to Blackpool or not this year or ask myself if I should really splash out on a new CD this week)?

So do the really successful people forget about the basics (leave the toilet seat broken and forget holidays to exotic locations)? I think there are many people, probably really talented ones who’ve done the sacrifice thing and ended up broken and with nothing; you only hear about the successful ones not those left begging on street corners or pushing an old shopping trolley babbling into their long crusty beards ‘I coulda been a contender… I coulda been a star..’.

I’m hoping I get discovered which really means having the ‘luck’; a much misunderstood word which does need a bit of talent (though from the number of ‘famous’ people these days who don’t seem to have a talent for anything other than being ‘famous’ I’m not too sure about that) and being in the right place (or slush pile my fellow writers) at the right time.

The stories of very successful writers who have submitted their now lauded work so many times they had a block booking with the post office, only for a secretary or cleaner to rescue their magnum opus from the bin (and then have a word with the boss) is heart warming (but probably very rare – perhaps there may be a little more chance of a dodo being discovered in London Zoo posing as a penguin?).

Of course there are many people out there fooling themselves that they are the next big thing and perhaps they are wasting their lives plugging away with the vain hope that somebody will recognise their undoubted talent? Am I one of those? Well the point is I wouldn’t know (I’m really half way on this – sometimes I do find myself dreaming but usually another voice pops up and verbally slaps me awake).

I think with a little more time I have enough talent to get published and even if I don’t I like writing. I expect to spend my life doing exactly what I’m doing now and I don’t expect to get anywhere but that won’t stop me. And you never know some cleaner may see my manuscript and not use it to mop up her spilt coffee. Chances are though I’ll stay a very exclusive artist. Thank you and good night you’ve been a lovely audience – now where did I put my trolley?

(You an also find some positive success stories relating to my work here: – I’m still looking for my academic document…)



Filed under General

4 responses to “Ambition

  1. Welcome back John. As writers, we may feel we have a masterpiece
    ( depending upon what we write as I don’t think even I’d consider ‘The Penguin has cold Toeses’ for kids to be a master work). But the only real way to gauge the quality is by readers comments.Whether that’s readers before it’s put into print or as an ebook or as I did afterwards. We may write but it’s the reader who has the last word. If you sell a few books and the comments are good you can only be proud of what you’ve done and then pray to the God of scribes for the luck to have it seen by the right person at the right time.
    If the book is on it’s way, don’t give up hope. Finish it and test it on two or three people for comments and possibly suggestions before submitting it or going Indie.
    Whatever happens friend, GOOD LUCK !

  2. katyasozaeva

    Success in the publishing world is as much as matter of luck as talent, it seems. You can have a wonderful product, but if you can’t make those vital connections… it’s a real slog. Not to way that the working isn’t important, because it is. Just keep at it. One of the authors with whom I work took early retirement last year to write full-time, but he had a really good situation to back him up, which helps. I’m sure it’ll work out, just keep plugging away!

  3. Thanks fellow travellers – here is me in my ‘rock star’ days… well I was trying!

  4. Welcome back John.Don’t worry we are all in the same shoes.The main thing is not to give up.Take care.

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