I am not yet good enough or well know enough (and won’t be for a while) to have people come knocking on my door. Or realistically emerging in my living room through the means of the internet. Well known and prolific writers are however experiencing this. The internet has allowed some people who don’t have a sense of boundaries to step over the front gate and open the door into your abode.
In one article by Joanne Harris she describes how some people do not realise what they can realistically expect from their favourite storyteller. Expecting authors to write books to order, not taking into account that these people live in the real world. They have to find time to earn an income if they do not get enough from their writing, which is most authors by the way! They also have to manage that money along with their time. They are human after all. But at the same time she realises the value of readers.
With all that being said, Harris created a manifesto in which she states what her writing is about. It is advice I’m going to take because it frees me from the confines of my own mind and feelings. This is how she interacts with her writing and readers. It is also how I want to base my writing career to.
- 1. I promise to be honest, unafraid and true; but most of all, to be true to myself – because trying to be true to anyone else is not only impossible, but the sign of a fearful writer.
- 2. I promise not to sell out – not even if you ask me to.
- 3. You may not always like what I write, but know that it has always been the best I could make it at the time.
- 4. Know too that sometimes I will challenge you and pull you out of your comfort zone, because this is how we learn and grow. I can’t promise you’ll always feel safe or at ease – but we’ll be uneasy together.
- 5. I promise to follow my story wherever it leads me, even to the darkest of places
- 6. I will not limit my audience to just one group or demographic. Stories are for everyone, and everyone is welcome here.
- 7. I will include people of all kinds in my stories, because people are infinitely fascinating and diverse.
- 8. I promise that I will never flinch from trying something different and new – even if the things I try are not always successful.
- 9. I will never let anyone else decide what I should write, or how – not the market, my publishers, my agent, or even you, the reader. And though you sometimes try to tell me otherwise, I don’t think you really want me to.
- 10. I promise not to be aloof whenever you reach out to me – be that on social media or outside, in the real world. But remember that I’m human too – and some days I’m impatient, or tired, or sometimes I just run out of time.
- 11. I promise never to forget what I owe my readers. Without you, I’m just words on a page. Together, we make a dialogue.
- 12. But ultimately, you have the choice whether or not to follow me. I will open the door for you. But I will never blame you if you choose not to walk through it.