I hate standing in book shops. The shelves filled with books used to warm me with the delight one feels on the morning of a holiday – ready to be whisked away to a world of ballet schools and secret diaries. But now the rows and rows of writers make me feel overwhelmed, insignificant, just another wannabe writer in an ocean of words. I feel genuine panic.
I don’t just see the many published authors, I see also the tens of unpublished authors that sit just behind Rowling, Brown, Meyer, Sparks, James, who could have, perhaps, been just as lucky, if only the timing had been different.
In The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron asserts there are no limits in the universe – that there is room for us all to be creative and successful and financially fulfilled, and I want to believe this. For a while I believed it the way a child believes in prayer, but as I become more pressed for time, and my achievements get lost in the ocean of sentences, I find it harder to believe. Or take comfort in it.
We have been led to believe that writing a book is some kind of herculean task that only the precious can accomplish. But when I open them and begin reading I am reminded that there are hundreds of enormously talented writers across the continents, building blocks of sentences, weaving thousands of stories. Writing, it seems, is not as difficult as we have allowed ourselves to believe. We are not so special after all.
There are many of us.
I wish us all inspiration, time to learn, energy to practise and a share of the infinite pool.