Monday, 5 January 2015

Authorship, a major challenge: pondering pitfalls and life as a writer.

I have been busy, working on my first book. At first it was a challenge to get it up to 50,000 words. The more one creates, however, the more creativity seems to flow. Being creative causes a branching of creative possibilities into other unforeseen areas.

The word count soon begins to accelerate as the author is sucked into a new obsession.

The word count is the first casualty of the organic process of ongoing discovery and exponential growth in ideas. There is a temptation to do too much, or to say too much, to link too many areas, into one over-arching theory of everything.

It is something I noticed in an excellent book called The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes. I picked up this book years ago and read it in a few days, with great excitement. The book links many themes and ideas to an overriding theme. Most noticeable of all is a need to link the possible cometary catastrophes of over ten thousand years ago with `Atlantis' also having occurred around this time, if we are talking over nine thousand solar years. There was clearly a temptation to link something historical, that the academic authors did not specialise in, as scientists, with something else, their own cometary theories.

My own book, yet to be published, on the relatively new topic of world pyramids, is currently up to 142,000 words, and will contain over one hundred and sixty illustrations. This is certainly well above the sweet spot of about 90,000, for a non-fiction book, or 270 pages. Nevertheless, I have chosen to make it this big, as I feel it will set something of a benchmark for all future research into this strange and bizarre area. Then again I am wondering what the reward in it all is. I am trying to make it so that people will not be able to pick out deficiencies in the argument: there really won't be any. I am trying to make it as solid as possible. Still, is any book in any new field ever totally correct? No.

`I didn't chose it... it chose me.'

I watched a recent youtube interview with Robert Temple, author of The Sirius Mystery, and newer, less well known books, with an alternate slant on some recent archaeological dating and other discoveries he has participated in. When asked what writing had given him, he answered something along the lines of: `It doesn't give me anything.... I am a research machine.' I recall that J. K Rowling has expressed a similar sentiment, on several occasions. It is something one does.

Being an author is exciting. One has time for research, and one can possibly change the world by informing people about new perspectives, but it is certainly not an area which pays well (It might pay better than being an American adjunct professor).

I recall a talk in high school in which an author I had never heard of and whose name I have since forgotten, had written various fiction books for teenagers. He  discussed how much he made every year. He said it was about five thousand. Even back then, that did not sound like much money at all! This was not a self-published author, but one backed by one or two major publishing houses. Publishing profits have certainly declined since then, as the internet, and phones and other entertainments have taken people away from books.

Unfortunately, I really do not recall the name of this author. He said that once he had received letters, in Italian, about how a publisher there, in Italy, had wanted to translate all of his works, and in return give him millions and millions of Lire. He said at the time that he thought he was going to be rich, but only received a few hundred dollars from the venture. It is a typical author pay packet which would make working at any of the now-socially normal (but not quite `acceptable' low-pay brackets of any large corporate retail chain, seem like a better prospect.

Charles Darwin wrote that he had the greatest of respect for anyone who had ever written a book, because of the work and troubles involved. The troubles continue after publication. What if the book does not sell, or what if one gets bad reviews?

One needs to not only work assiduously at word-whipping, but also at reading others works. The author of Aquagenesis, a book I have been reading (I have had to put it down to read other books), wrote that in order to write a book, one needs to spend a great deal of time reading the other books in the field, and that there is no time for both.

Many authors quote profusely from one or two leading visionaries in their field, even if that field perhaps contains fifty relevant books. No-one has the time to get around to reading all of them. What then is the use of this research, if it is driven by the opinions and prejudices of the few, rather than the democratic say of the many? The rapidly expanding literature in all fields might create something of a `warp field,' by which ideas championed by one popular author or academic are sucked, represented visually by an increasingly elongated and narrowing funnel, into a kind of long spaghetti spring, accelerating as it goes, but also going nowhere in particular, into an increasingly narrow area, and passing through the subject matter like a neutrino through lead: rather than splatting hard against it, making a true impact. 

I recall a quote by one author who wrote that if you want to write a novel, you need to more or less chip away at it every day, and do not much else for the rest of the year, until it is done. But what type of person is willing to do this? What monomaniac can stand it? Does it mean that most novels are only a unique slant, the product of that very unusual single-minded and purposeful person, with their strange thinking attached?

Then there is the need to step away, to take a step backwards. One needs this for perspective. One needs a holiday, occasionally, in order to change course and break the pattern of thinking in any one area. The perspective gathering can take place in time, by simply doing something else for a week, or in spacetime, with travel to some place, like Starbucks with a laptop, or a foreign country. 

Perhaps by taking a step back, the author, or anybody really, can gain the perspective needed to change course, into a better future, to make a better, and broader book, and a better and broader life. 

If you would like to read more about some of my ideas regarding all this, please have a look at my book, In Search of the Origin of Pyramids and the Lost Gods of Giza, available cheaply in Kindle edition. It is also available in paperback edition for those who wish to make notes. I guarantee you will see info found no-where else.)