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Why I Feel Like Giving Up

May 18, 2021.

There’s an old saying, ‘Better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all’. And it has much merit. It actually is better to give something a go, give it your best shot and if whatever it is doesn’t come off, well - so what? You tried.

The trouble with this is that one can – eventually – get a little tired of trying and getting nowhere. And if one adds to that a never-ending line of people that, at best are not very good, at worst completely undeserving of anything and yet who do succeed, it becomes even more tiresome (my view obviously). There are significant numbers of such people in every country, not just the UK, so it’s not confined to Britain.

I don’t claim to be special or to have any particular expertise in anything other than commercial aviation, politics and current affairs and then only as an observer and writer of matters concerning them. I’d like to think I write reasonably well and of the eight books I’ve penned I have had just one adverse comment about just one of those books - the rest all quite complimentary. That of course is itself quite nice and I’ve also been complimented on many of my magazine articles, with just one ‘pulled’. Most writers will have material not used, or scheduled to be used and then withdrawn by the publication’s editor, for any number of reasons. Its par for the course and if one doesn’t like it, one shouldn’t take up writing. But I’ve been quite lucky – just that single article. The rest have all been used and with very little changes made during the editing process.

One of the lesser-known aspects to writing for a living is that one’s original book manuscript or article copy submitted to publishers will be edited by that publisher and sometimes quite savagely. Again though, it’s not been much of a problem for me, at least so far. So either I’m lucky or I’m not too bad at it.

I can’t be ‘that’ lucky however, as I’ve yet to have a best-seller that gets transferred into a movie blockbuster, or an article syndicated nationwide so everybody gets to read it. I just about get by, and sometimes (yes, I admit it) do struggle just as many others do, to balance out the bill payments. But at least most of what I write is really me and not a sub-editor placing his or her own interpretation on my words and changing the spirit and meaning of what I wrote to start with. Most writers will have this happen and to the point where what ends up in print bears little resemblance to their original. It’s an occupational hazard, so people like me have to live with it. But that doesn’t mean meekly accepting it.

What one does can vary but polite yet firm protest can work. It can also be ignored so more robust action could be needed. Meek acceptance however, is not a good choice – coming back to those who may not be entirely deserving of some success, high among them are today’s politicians. I’ve been around the block enough times to know a good one from a b