Happy New Year to you all – I hope it will be everything you want – both peaceful, healthy and productive.
I am in my 70s now – I know you can't believe it – but there you go. Time passes for everyone and last year went past by in a rush. I've written over half a million words last year – that's eight complete books of various lengths – a record for me.
I intend to write until I'm too old and decrepit to carry on. However, having tried to read the last two Jilly Cooper books and given them up because they were so bad, I'm wondering if I will have the sense to stop for I publish something that just isn't good enough.
Don't get me wrong – I am absolutely delighted that Jilly Cooper has been recognised in the New Year Honours list – I've been a devoted fan for an embarrassingly long time. But the last two books were two books too many and quite unreadable. Such a shame for her wonderful legacy to end on books that should not have been published.
One would have thought that her publishers would have said no – but they are a business and anything written by Cooper will sell hundreds of thousands, even if it is dire.
Athletes retire when they can no longer compete successfully, even businessmen, lawyers, and tradespeople know when to call it a day. The two professions that can continue as long as they want are artists and writers. I think it is less likely that an artist will produce bad work at the end of their life, you almost don't need your cognitive skills to paint if you're a professional, it just comes by instinct. I can't remember which of the Impressionist it was, but one of them, when he went blind, produced wonderful collages instead.
|Billy-Blue - new addition to my family.|
I don't think I'll ever actually give up the process, but I will certainly stop publishing and just write for myself when my books slither into the realm of crap – there's far too much of that about already without adding to the pile.
When are you going to stop? Will you keep writing as long as it's selling even though you secretly know it's not as good as it used to be?
To end on a positive note I've included a picture of our new kitten, a British Shorthair Lilac, who joined us last Thursday. I've not had a pedigree cat before but I wanted something special to replace our beloved Louis who was a Bengal cross.
Fenella J Miller