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  • Chris Statham

The 5 Rules of being a Paperback Writer

Updated: Jul 14, 2021


I wrote on my first blog what creativityxroads meant to me , so thought, I'd better also share what it takes to be a paperback writer. I take my words from Paperback Writer noting the words in italics are the thoughts of the protagonist.

I know I shouldn’t drink and write at the same time. It does no favours for my liver, kidneys or pancreas, and my imagination starts to run so wild I never get anything done. While other artists of the pen, can find a dram of Scotch, a pint of beer, a glass of wine, a shot of vodka, or for wealthier scribblers, a flute of Champagne, to help lubricate their creative selves, Jules simply didn’t know when to stop. The first drop would take him into other worlds from which he would never return, or at least not until the next day when he would come crashing back with a bang in the form of a stinking hangover. It would normally be at that head-pounding stage, that he would read the drunken gibberish he’d scrawled, typed or doodled the day before, and in a self-perpetuating downward spiral, start another day on the sauce. And why don’t I put my many and varied thoughts in some sort of logical order? This was the second rule that Jules had never mastered. He’d been unsuccessful in copying and pasting articles from the internet into a folder, or paper clippings into a file from which he could at a later date, use as inspiration for characters and/or plot. He hadn’t managed the art of indexing creative ideas or indeed setting up any sort of system to collect and collate his many, quite often brilliant musings. Maybe, if I was more disciplined and had a more structured day, I would be more productive? Maybe that would help me to be better organised and less attracted to the bottle? Not having consistent timeslots in which to work, was Jules’s third failure. He didn’t wake as the sun rose and go for a run to clear the cobwebs, followed by shower, breakfast and by mid-morning, be done with emails and other administration, so that he could concentrate on editing his work from the previous day or start producing creative output. Instead, he would wake when he fancied, and then go back to sleep for a few more hours. During winter months, it would not be particularly unusual if he didn’t see the light of day. If I could only settle on a regular place of work and from which become God to create worlds, surely that would also help. Such a place of peace, tranquillity and creative inspiration... had never been found. He didn’t have a shed, a favoured coffee shop, or even a corner in a room in his flat from which he could develop characters and order sentences. Worse still Jules never followed the fifth rule, the so-called golden rule that all authors try to follow. If I could consistently write 300, 400, 500 words each day, in time I would eventually have a first draft from which I could then start the process of editing, polishing and proofreading. Instead, after a sentence that Jules was proud of, or even sometimes just a collection of words, he would often post said sentence on social media. This act would be excuse enough to make a congratulatory coffee, cheese sandwich or pour an alcoholic pick-me-up.


Here is a poem on being a Paperback Writer

When I put pen to paper, tap on my keyboard, or sketch an idea in my mind’s eye, I think of a specific incident, a thought, a person, a state of mind. I pull a story from my past, and play with the: what has been, what is, and what might be. I have artistic freedom, as a paperback writer. A killer first sentence, an engaging beginning, building a plot towards a final crescendo and memorable end. That is the task, of being a paperback writer. Will you read my book that took ten years to write? Five-hundred pages, fifteen drafts, sleepless nights, endless proofing. These are the physical and mental challenges required of all paperback writers. I’ll soon be composing again. Inscribe as I wish, pen as I dare. once more, God, creating worlds, introducing characters, interweaving lives.

I call myself, A Paperback Writer.

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