It struck me the other day that I don’t show ‘me’ enough. I may explain how I can help and what I can do for authors, but not why I do it. And whether you choose to believe me, my motivation isn’t actually financial. I have to put a charge on my time to be able to do what I do and not be destitute, and I know what I’m worth – but that’s just to exist. It’s not what makes me get up on a morning.
This is not because I’m a multi-millionaire with a mansion, swimming pool and helicopter (I most definitely am not! I work three jobs as well as run The Writing Hall, to make ends meet). Money is not the driver for me.
I spend a lot of time helping authors improve, as writers, and consequently, their books. Seeing writers – some of whom may not have dared share their work before, or budding authors overwhelmed by all that’s involved with the self-publishing and printing of their title – hold their very first printed copy in their hand, is the biggest kick that exists for me.
I love to write, and I have written books. It’s all I’ve wanted to do since I was ‘ickle’, but even THAT doesn’t compare to helping someone else become a fully-fledged author. Their book, that I had a hand in creating, always looks better and far more accomplished than anything I could produce on my own. Two heads are better than one, and all that.
The books I help to produce are a physical reminder of what I can do: find a story and push it to its very limits. It’s written. It’s recorded.
That the author gets the recognition is fine, I’m more chuffed for them than I would be for myself – I’ve helped someone realise their dream. Can you imagine how that feels?
I’m being very open with you here: professionally, I’ve been disappointed at a couple of points during my career, where the ethics of those in charge were way off my own. It’s made me more driven to not let others down and to meet their expectations, even if it means ‘resetting’ their idea of reality. Perhaps I’m not the business owner I should be, because I don’t look at authors as ‘units’ or income generators. It may mean I don’t get the mansion, swimming pool or helicopter. But there are books out there that have a much better story, and authors with more confidence as a writer, after my intervention.
It seems my business approach means I’m a longstanding member of a certain band of entrepreneur: mission before bank account. We may take forever to get a little further forward, but we’re remembered by our clients, for the right reasons. Keep the big houses and fancy cars – I don’t want to trade my soul or change who I am. If life allows me to do so, I’ll continue doing what I’m doing, bringing joy to those with a similar love of the written word.
Know that your book – the one that’s your baby – is my baby, too.