I am a weed

Weed or flower? I reckon it depends on your point of view.

The Guardian columnist Damien G. Walter has published a checklist to help writers decide if they’re ready to self-publish. Despite my reluctance to accept any checklist as a guide to something as complex, idiosyncratic, and frustrating as writing, he ends his piece on a note I can embrace:

And if you really can’t wait? If you don’t meet any of this seven criteria but want to leap in to the white waters of indie publishing anyway, just for the hell of it? Well then good luck to you, and enjoy the ride, wherever it takes you.

Enjoyment doesn’t really come into it, at least in my case. I used to garden passionately, even obsessively, trying to banish every damned weed within my borders — not much enjoyment there. I left it to others to take pleasure in the garden; I was too busy with the next task. Now I’ve come to accept — in fact, to believe — that weeds are as essential to my little corner of the universe as highly cultivated stock, as the beautiful roses which required constant vigilance and care. It’s a jungle out there.

The real question a writer should ask is not whether she’s ready. The question is, ready for what: Money? Followers? Prizes? Five-star Amazon ratings? The approval of a critic or two? Readers?

Or perhaps none of those: ready with a perfect piece of fiction? Well, yes, that’s the dream, but the only place you’ll find that is in the one Garden well beyond my reach.

Instead, I choose to be a weed — ignored, sometimes despised, frequently removed, but unwilling to disappear. Hardy.