Monday, 14 June 2010

Writing's my Coal Face

What a bloody pompous thing to say. Sometimes it needs saying though. The world couldn't exist without writers. From textbooks, magazines, newspapers, novels, children's books, even the way a sentence or phrase is put as a caption on the rolling news channels.
My Mother wrote a novel. Sent it away to somewhere. Got a polite rejection letter back with the suggestion that she take a writer's course. She said to me, 'What do I need that for? I can write.' Well I agreed. I was writing at the time.
Through Turner/Maxwell I published my two novels 'To The End Of Love'
and 'Learning To Wave'
Now I'm happy with both novels. There are a few pages of very fine writing in them but I'm not ecstatic. They really need polishing. There was a great deal I didn't know; just the whole basics of writing.
Eighteen months ago I bumped into Nadine Laman on a blog about ISBNs. Real geeky stuff. She asked me if I wrote. I replied in the affirmative and sent her the copy of my new novel. All ready for publishing! She told me she'd like to publish but it needed some work. Boy did it need some work.
She had me working. She taught me. I had an awakening that just because I had a computer with a spell check did not mean that I was a writer. To be a writer meant working at it. I came to realise that I was working at my writing seven days a week. My wife, when asked what our jobs were, said I was a writer. I am not the person retired early from work sitting in idyllic France doing nothing but poking at the garden and drinking wine.
Any day now I shall receive from the States the final draft of my novel for corrections.
I have until the end of July to make the corrections. I am also working on the follow up.
As well as the other nitty gritty stuff that makes up being a writer.
Nadine asked me if I was excited because the end is in sight. I replied
'Excited? I would be if I believed it would sell. But the whole process has been very exciting. I've learnt a lot. Writing if you're going to do it properly is a full time job; not a hobby. Of course it can be a hobby and exciting when a short story is published in some obscure publication that no-one but your Aunt buys because you're in it. I've been listening to Bach's solo cello suites recently. Bach had genius obviously but he also practised his craft. Viviane Spanoghe performs the suites so well because she practised her arse off from being a child. Nothing comes naturally in any job. It's the amount of effort made. And writing now is my work. My coal face.'
My new novel will be published on the First of November this year. More details to follow.
Nadine's blog can be found at
Word count on new novel 19,225/70,000


  1. I think many people underestimate what it takes to write well. Everyone thinks they have a novel in them, if only they'd take the time to write it. But writing is more than putting pretty words together, as you well know. It take just as much training and practice as any art -- again, as you well know. I look forward to your new novel!

  2. I finished - as in the first draft - my first novel a couple of years ago, and I'm still re-drafting. I'll put it away, thinking it's done, read through it again after a few months, and the 'red pen' is back in action. Now I think the entire beginning needs re-writing, but that means that the end chapters need re-working, too.
    Good luck with yours - I'll keep up with your blog so that I know when it's published and available for purchase.

  3. I don't think it's pompous, and I do think it needs saying often and loud. Everywhere you look there is writing. It didn't appear spontaneously. All those people worked long and hard, often without praise or proper recompense, to produce what for me is truly magical - little squiggles that can inform, delight, obfuscate, hurt, give solace, direct the course of humanity. Writers are magicians.

  4. SueG: I hear it all the time. And people really do think we put words together and what you start off with is what you end up with. My son writes articles for a magazine. He sends them to me to look at. I make changes. He chooses whether to take it on board. Its all part of the writing process. Which leads me onto
    Marit: You really need to give your novel to someone else to look at. I've had lots and lots of rejections. I'm not proud! I get angry disappointed. But someone else Marit, not a publisher or a friend, just an honest person should look at your work.
    Grahame: Thank you for your words. I agree.
    Nadine: Corrected.


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Glyn Pope grew up on a council estate in England. He studied theology at Nene University. In addition to writing short stories and novels, Glyn interviewed Bob Marley the night before Marley cancelled his UK tour and went back to the warmth of Jamaica. Glyn has published articles for both Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan 'fan' magazines, and has two novels published. He won a short story competition in the magazine 'Devon Life.' A few years ago he and his wife moved to France where he pursues a full time writing career.