Party politics – and not in the way you think

An arts hole?

I’m a fan of Jeff Bridges (especially Starman and The Big Lebowski) and a fan of Simon Pegg (especially Spaced and Shaun of the Dead), so the film How to Lose Friends and Alienate People was a natural choice as it featured both of them. I awarded it a bonus point awarded because it is also a film about a writer

There’s a line in it, which I won’t bother to quote accurately (well, this is a blog…), about acerbic writers being that way because they don’t have an invite to the party. It’s a bit of a cliche, but like most cliches there is a vein of truth in it. 

The reality, however, is that we all have our faces pressed at the window of the next party, the next inner circle, or the next opportunity that will somehow change our trajectory as writers.

Since Standpoint was published approximately 12 months ago I have been on a literary rollercoaster. twisting and turning through the contract, the edits, the final proof, publication, and promotions. For a short while I enjoyed the perspective of a published writer and then plunged back into a follow-up novel to start the whole process again with Line of Sight, and after that Cause & Effect came out as the third book in the series. 

All of which is lovely, but there are still parties beyond the glass. Some of them are small affairs – getting more sales and especially more reviews (the order sounds counter-intuitive but many writers would agree with me), and being invited as a guest on other people’s blogs. Other parties seem exclusive to the point of impossibility – selling the rights for TV or film (and not just so that Sarah Campbell can become an extra!), doing a book tour, being invited to attend a writing conference as a speaker, or having a book reviewed by a national newspaper. 

This month marks the end of my first full year as a published author. It’s a party that I know others are keen to get an invite to, even as I’m gazing at the next glass wall. Along the way I’ve been asked some pointed and challenging questions, so my next blog will tackle those in a warts-and-all Q&A. There’s still time to add a question to the list, by:
a) Commenting here.
b) Contacting me on Twitter – @DerekWriteLines
c) Contacting me via Facebook – /professionalwriter1

I chose the above image because I saw it on my travels in Penzance, and also because it reminded me of Marcel Duchamp, who shocked the art world by presenting a urinal out of context as art. Except, as we now know, he actually appropriated the idea from Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven – which was really taking the piss.


  1. Chloe says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary! This is so true. The most exciting moment of my writing life was when I got an offer from my agent. And although I then did end up getting published and have done well enough with the novel I am jealous of those people at the "stocked in Waterstones" party, or the "three book deal with a major publisher" party. I am determined to enjoy the party I'm at now, however!

  2. Thank you, twice! First, for your thank you; and secondly, for nailing it so well. If we fixate on the next step or the parties we're not invited to we miss out on the wonder of the moment. If we'd made that mistake at the beginning we wouldn't be where we are now.

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