A Writer’s Retirement – the promised land?

14 08 2013

You don’t retire on book one. Or two, three or four. In fact, if you’ve got four over the line you don’t retire at all – the ideas keep coming, the books keep coming. Life is retirement because you are doing what you love to do. And loving what you do is what counts in life.

I knew a man once. He enjoyed his work. Loved it. Spent every waking hour he could at it. I used to have a job and when the working day was over then my commitment to it ended. He said to me that if you don’t love your job, don’t do it. It is where you spend most of your waking hours so if you don’t like it, don’t love it, just don’t do it.

Nice to have the choice, I thought!

But as time passes I see his point. I love what I do and who I do it with, for, about. Love it.

Would I stop? Only if I was forced to by circumstance, failing health or policy intervention. Luckily, I don’t think I will ever give cause for the constabulary to pay me much attention.  Then again, I do like to take the odd risk.

If retirement was forced upon me by the walls of a prison could I continue writing? Would I find sufficient raw material to shape and mould? Would my publisher still talk to me or would a new pseudonym have to come to life?

A new one? Does that mean I have one already?  JK has a lot to answer for, bringing the subject to the top of people’s minds!

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Pseudonyms – what’s in a name?

26 07 2013

 

JK Rowling is actually Robert Galbraith – or is that vice versa? “The Cuckoo’s Calling” was not written by some canny bloke with a striking turn of phrase about women’s clothes but by wizard obsessive Rowling.  She has moved on in more ways than one. Tales about Harry, Ron and (admittedly less common) Hermione have now become more adult and talk about one Cormoran Strike. Good name – is it a pseudonym as well?

 

I have no problem with pseudonyms. Lots of good reasons for using them – from JK’s anonymity and desire to be judged on her own literary merits, through to hiding something about your real self. Would Mein Kampf have sold so well written by Hilda Bathwater, Five go to Kirren Island by Brigadier De’Ath?  There is also the embarrassment factor. Should a respected journalist, literary professor, industry stalwart want their google name search interspersed with fan-fiction about the soft porn novels churned out in their spare time? Better Trudy Biglove gets the fans and Professor X gets the cash and solid reputation!

 

I did like the spate of books that came out when Da Vinci Code appeared. So many men suddenly had names which rhymed with Dan Brown or could be easily mistaken for his name by a commuter in a hurry. Dan, Sam, Tom. How many were real names?

 

If an author has a good reason then so be it. Let it lie. However, should we have the same view if it is (crassly?) commercial decision by the publisher? Should authors allow themselves to see their work under another’s name simply because their surname has too many syllables or doesn’t translate well into another language? Are commercial reasons so bad? Are they all crass?

 

My writing is my own. My name is my own. I am me.  Honest!