If there is anything that comes between Sasha and me it is money, or more accurately my lack of money. I should be comfortably off, but the truth is that this crazy decision to become a writer has changed all that. Of course, nothing is quite as simple or straightforward as that, but in essence, that’s the state of affairs.
Reasonably Sasha wants to go on holiday sometime this year. She is also keen to understand how I am going to support us when I move to Kiev in September. To be honest it is a question I am also asking myself.
This is not the place or time to go into all the peripheral reasons for my pecuniary dilemmas, but I have worked a lot over the last couple of years in traditional jobs and not been paid for my efforts. It is a significant amount of money. Right now, that would make a big difference.
No, the real issue is that I am fighting with myself every day trying to find a balance between writing and what others call work. I write every day and I have to do that to catch up on all the years when I didn’t write. I need to practice.
I was talking about this to other guests at the wedding over the weekend among whom were singers and artists. They wanted to embrace me into this artistic community and encourage me to revel in the status of an artist. I was flattered but the truth is that I am still finding the label a difficult one to wear.
When I am asked what I do I answer, writer. That’s as far as I can go. I don’t see myself as an artist. I wish I could and then I could live in a cold and bare garret with the wind whistling through every badly fitting door and window. Then I could suffer for my art and I might then be an artist.
But it is not like that. I rent a room in a cosy and beautifully maintained house in Surrey. There is nothing painful about my lifestyle.
When I made this decision I always thought the larger of all my problems would be my ability to write. Then the first book was published, then the second, third and on to the fourth. At first, blogging was hard, but it becomes easier every day although if I will think the same in a year’s time is still an open debate.
Perversely, the problem is marketing and selling the books. I write but no one buys.
It’s very difficult to get statistics on how many books are published each year but I can tell you when one of my books was first published I followed the statistics on Amazon. It was ranked in the mid 3 million. That was so depressing I have never gone back again to check.
The gist is that I have entered into one of the most competitive markets at a time when it was never easier to publish.
The problem is that any art is a selfish indulgence except when a book is read, enjoyed, brings happiness and then it becomes something far more. To talk to someone who has read and enjoyed a book I have written is worth more and feels better than anything else I have experienced.
Sasha has only known me a writer and it is a disappointment that I can’t provide properly for her but then if she had known me in Version 1, the businessman, with no time for his family, in pursuit of success and pinstripe suits, maybe she wouldn’t love me quite so much?