I’m writing a book. No-one has to read it (not even you). It would hardly be fair to expect anyone to; I don’t read books myself. Or not much and not often (and even then I tend not to finish them).
Among the few I have finished are books by Robert Byron, George Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut and Roald Dahl (not in that order). They were great and I liked them. No doubt I’ll borrow or steal from them a little, subconsciously of course, it can’t be helped. I didn’t finish The Catcher in the Rye and I shan’t borrow or steal from that; it’s rubbish (sorry Rachel).
In a famous Cook and Fantoni cartoon (from Private Eye ages ago) two badly drawn men are standing together at a party. One says, “I’m writing a book”, the other replies, “Neither am I”. It was funny because it seemed everyone claimed they were at the time. Writing a book was the pre-internet dream ticket to money and fame, but few got around to it. It worked for Nick Hornby. And some other people whose books I haven’t read. The ones that got around to it.
I’ve never forgotten that cartoon. Maybe it has held me back from getting started with my book-writing, made me resist the temptation to tell even myself that I’m writing a book. But all of a sudden I’m over that, at what must be the worst time possible to be writing a book if you’re seeking commercial success like Nick’s, what with the rise of the internet and all the other modern distractions that were not around when he was writing his book, but I’m not, so I won’t let that stop me.
It’s the writing of my book, by me, not the reading of my book, by you (and several million others), that matters.
I’m writing a book.