I wonder if it ever occurred to Dickens, as he wrote the first line of his first novel, that his words would gain immortality and have such a profound effect on generations of readers? Would Chaucer have changed the tone of his tales if he had seen their modern similitudes evolve and take on such diverse new shapes? And how do you think a certain Mr Shakespeare would have handled the news of his worldwide fame, mostly unpaid would-be fortune, and unrivalled influence on the English language?
Perhaps today’s famous novelists and writers have more of an inkling into their impact on the world, if for no other reason than the way modern media has opened up our powers of communication. JK Rowling must recognise that children five to ten decades from now will be familiar with Harry Potter’s name (apparently, the movie remakes, in full 3D, MegaDefinition, ZegaColour are scheduled for 2034). And we all have our personal favourites authors (Bernard Cornwell, Sebastian Faulks, Robert Harris, and Bill Sharrock, dominate the real estate along my shelves) who set the benchmark to admire, inspire and maybe even aspire to emulate.
But what of the lesser-known, unpublished potentials or pretenders? Those who scribble and type, who invent new worlds and visit the heart, hoping that one-day others might notice and share in the sounds of their muse. Perhaps those also-rans exist to make up the numbers in the medium of mediocrity, or maybe, just maybe, they are an undiscovered country, full of delights and daring dreams.
Let your creativity flow, and who knows where it might lead?
I don’t know exactly how undiscovered gems come to light in the world of literature. I wish I did! I suspect it involves persistence, inner belief, who you know, and a little luck along the way. But I do know this one thing for sure: Words move people. And I believe that it only takes a little bit of motion for one person to mention that movement to another, who will pass it on and eventually cause an avalanche with a few waves of a pen.
Keep on keeping on…
Truly creative people work for two audiences. Firstly, they battle a private but insatiable hunger to create and uncover their own hidden masterpiece deep inside. Creativity has to be, first and foremost, a selfish act because it must come from the heart and be untainted by the need for approval or reward. But like everyone else who ever drew breath in the world, those who live on the edges of reality have fragile hearts, minds and egos. Their focus can wander; their drive get waylaid, and their will to see a quest through to the final page can disappear beneath a sea of self-loathing and self-doubt.
So my advice to creative people is to focus on the first audience: Work for you. And if you happen to stumble across something that moves you, do the person behind it a favour and pass it on.