Allow me talk about self-confidence.
The army teaches you to have bags of it. Because, without it it’s v difficult to get groups of people to do things they’d really rather not do. I went to Sandhurst at 18. Twenty-five years later I left with the confidence of 10 men.
Teaching next. Confidence is key here as well. If you haven’t stood up in front of 25 barely pubescent 15 year-olds (with more hormones than a back-street Chinese hormone shop), and, again, tried to get them to do things they really don’t want to do – then you’re lucky. I salute teachers everywhere. Before I became one, I thought being a teacher was the easiest job in the world. Eh, no. I found leading – which is what teachers do, day-in, day-out – classes of kids much more tricky than taking a battalion of soldiers on operations..
Did that for 8 years. Tick.
Now I work for myself. I am, principally, an author. I write books for – well, I can’t really call it a living. 5,000 books in three years is hardly a living. But it’s what I do (as well as marketing books – which is taking up more and more of my time). #SamGreen is #1. Twitter (I like Twitter); Facebook; Instagram; this blog. It all helps. Hurrah!
But do I do it with confidence? Am I ‘up’ all the time? Is morale ‘green’; optimism ‘high’?
Well, not really. I have very good days when what I have written seems like the best thing out there. When I sell 15 books (as I have today – already). When I get a grown-up review from someone I’ve never heard of – and it’s genuinely fab. But just as quickly – and precipitously, I feel rubbish. That I’m writing for an audience of 17 people – most of them my friends who would read my rubbish anyway and politely say they like it. When I get a poor review; or I’ve sold no books by lunchtime. That, thankfully, isn’t just now. But it might be this time tomorrow.
Up and down. Down and up. I’ve never experienced anything like it.
What does this mean? Well, I applaud anyone in the arts trying to make a living. I applaud our friend Deborah Blyth who makes her own (very smart) jewellery and has a growing business that needs a big break. Our daughter Jen who has just banked with Mum and Dad for quite a lot of money, in order to buy an embroidery machine and sewing machine so she can sell her fabulous dog bandannas and collars – link here: Cubbly’s . I applaud my niece, Grace, trying to make it as an actor at the tender age of 18. And all the painters, sculptors, actors, writers, weavers, crafts people – indeed, anyone who is trying to make something with their hands, their bodies and/or their keyboards – and then living off the proceeds.
And my advice – not that I’m in a position to give advice to so many talented people: keep at it. Do what you love. Work harder. Persevere. Have faith. Work a bit harder. Still keep at it. Something good will happen.
BTW – all’s well in The Bahamas! And book 4 going splendidly. 54/120k words done and I now have the obligatory mindmap to get me to a conclusion. Sam Green is alive and well (and, having spent 2 days here, is now in Miami.