Lately I’ve gotten into the habit of watching the news in the morning, and the other day there was an interview with Bic Runga (you can watch the interview here). She had been nominated for the Silver Scroll, alongside four other women songwriters, and Bic was asked about her twenty year career. How did she stay relevant? How did she keep coming up with new ideas?
I loved how down to earth she was, but what I found inspiring and motivational is how she described her approach to song writing. She says, “I guess you have to keep doing what’s honest to you; that’s all you can do.”
When I first started writing (so for The Caretaker of Imagination and Lucy’s Story) I had three rules that I had to meet before I was ready to publish. One of them was that the story had to be true to me. I think I lost that a little with Beyond the End of the World, which is perhaps why I’m not as proud of that story as I am of my others, but I’m regaining that now.
Now, I’m focusing very much on what’s true to me; what’s honest to me. In Bic’s words, that’s all I can do, but I think that’s also what I should do. Because what’s the point otherwise?f
It has been refreshing this year to start cutting out voices that are telling me what to do, telling me how to be a success, and telling me that there’s a right and a wrong way to do this whole indie thing. And the more I follow my own nose, the more I am rewarded.
Which is all to say that there’s more than one way to make a buck as an indie, and more than one way to carve a niche. Perhaps my niche is something that doesn’t really exist anywhere else – I mean who else publishes colouring books, anthologies, collaborative non-fiction, AND children’s books?? – but I can chisel away at it until it becomes something special.