“I think novelists come in two types, and that includes the sort of fledgling novelist I was by 1970. Those who are bound for the more literary or “serious” side of the job examine every possible subject in light of this question: What would writing this sort of story mean to me? Those whose destiny (or ka, if you like) is to include the writing of popular novels are apt to ask a very different one: What would writing this sort of story mean to others? The “serious” novelist is looking for answers and keys to the self; the “popular” novelist is looking for an audience. Both kinds of writer are equally selfish. I’ve known a good many, and will set my watch and warrant upon it.”
-Stephen King , intro to the Dark Tower series.
I’d not really bothered to read the opening intros to the dark tower series. Its a bad habit of mine, I’ll concede, but this time, for some reason, I ended up reading it when I started re-reading the third volume, ‘The Waste Lands.’, and in doing so I read this quote.
And it struck a chord, because recently the question of what kind of writer I am has been burning in my mind. Am I writing for money, or for fame, or for adulation? Or am I writing to find the key to myself, to dig up the writer inside me, and find a way to express myself that I couldn’t find any other way?
The truth, the more I thought about it, is that I’m somewhere in the middle. I want an audience, I want writing to be my job, and I want people to enjoy my writing. But at the same time, if I’m not writing something for myself, I don’t do very well. I have to be enjoy what I’m writing. If it isn’t something coming from deep in me, then it just… stops.
And that, I hate to admit, is what has happened with The Delta Children. It got away from me at the 50k mark, and I stopped enjoying writing it.
And so it’s going on the backburner for now, and I’m trying my hand at something else. I started writin the next book in the Order of Britain series, but that wasn’t doing it for me either. I needed a new project.
And so I’ve started one. I’ve had an idea burning away at the back of my mind for a few weeks now, and I’ve realised its not going to go away unless I write the bloody thing. So I have my project.
And that project is called Clockworld.
Here we go.