Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Wannabe Parent

When does an (outwardly) perfectly normal, peaceful-looking individual become a parent from hell?
Raman muses on the Silverfish website, before launching into yet another* wannabe horror story, this time about a parent who wants his daughter published ... even before she's written a word.
Then he said, "Unless you are deaf, dumb and blind, everyone knows how much money JK Rowling makes."

Oh God! Not another one!

"How many JK Rowlings, are there?"

"One." He looked puzzled.

"What is the population of the world?"

"I don't know ... several billions."

"So, the chances of your daughter becoming another JK Rowling is one in several billions. Now, if you go downstairs and buy a lottery, the chances of you winning the first prize is one in three million. Wouldn't that be much better?
Now I love it when people say they want to write and will do my best to encourage them, but expecting that you can become the next big thing without putting in the time and effort it takes to get there is totally unrealistic.

And it amazes me that many of the people I've met who say they want to write don't want to swallow the most basic piece of advice of all - if you want to write something worth publishing, you must read widely and hungrily. There is no shortcut. Sorry.

If you don't want to do this, take up quilting or grow bonsai trees or something like that. You'll probably be much happier.

(*A couple of my own are here and here.)

12 comments:

Eric Forbes said...

Sounds familiar!

bibliobibuli said...

he says wearily! haha

lil ms d said...

did he tell ya did he tell ya about the rainbow? ;)

bibliobibuli said...

no, what's that ms d?

gnute said...

Last I read, Tash Aw is a full-time writer in the UK. Now that's some dedication, in light of what Raman says is the average financial return for a writer!

bibliobibuli said...

how many tash's are there? are they all making money? not from what i hear . follow the link from raman's post for the average earnings of authors in UK and make a note to keep the day job!!

Anonymous said...

Many full-time writers do have full-time jobs teaching!

Chet said...

Didn't Tash win some award money for Harmony Silk Factory? If so, he has some money to live on.

bibliobibuli said...

maybe he isn't starving writing his second novel in a garret somewhere

but the argument was that actually most authors (in the UK at least) don't make enough money to live on

gnute said...

Well, that makes Tash's endeavours even more admirable. In any case, even if one has a day job, that is herculean dedication there.

bibliobibuli said...

admirable indeed. he gave up a legal career to write. so for that matter did tan twan eng. there's a tremendous amount of courage in making that decision.

GUO SHAO-HUA said...

sure, there are horror tales like this one, but let's not forget, there jaguh kampung writers here too who think they're such hot stuff. that's infinitely sadder, actually. i hope Raman will write about that some day.