Butterfly Effects and Emerging Writers

There is no such thing as an emerging butterfly. There are caterpillars and there are butterflies. I don’t know what an ’emerging writer’ is, but whenever I apply for things or look at entries, I’m not it. Not enough publications, too many publications, haven’t earned enough, or too much, no big novel, too many different genres. I’m stuck in a chrysalis, so to speak, while ’emerging’ is whatever whoever wants to call it. So I’m calling time on it. Organisations and industry bodies may need to categorise individuals, but I don’t. Butterflies don’t have angst about what they’re called. They just flit. Now, I’m gonna be a butterfly and just write.

If all this doesn’t fit pre-ordained conceptions of recognition and success, I don’t care. There is no formal training absolutely needed for this, there is no measurement of success. I’m not someone’s apprentice, sure there are courses and subjects, but they are shaping something that was already there. A drive. Hartley Coleridge wrote better sonnets than most poets and more (good) poetry and criticism than his father, but was hardly recognised before or even after his death. Harper Lee wrote one book. Keats died penniless and way too young. We don’t really know who Homer was. Shakespeare continues to have the indignity of not being considered the author hurled at him. Some prolific writers are known by one work, or even one line. Some never give up their day jobs. Which of those creators was successful? Who emerged? Who failed? Words like emerging, successful and failure are not helpful. If I was writing for anything beyond my own amusement and compulsion, then perhaps I am a failure. But I write. Therefore I’m a writer. Nothin’ emerging about it.

If you write too take the title. No one owns it and no one can tell you to put an ’emerging’ in front of it, like you’re not worthy to sit at the adults table at Christmas. Bugger the table, you’re a writer too. 


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