The BBC Radio 4 Today programme is often a source of inspiration to me.
And today at 8.20am I heard an item about the party for former RADA students that the Queen will be holding in Buckingham Palace this evening (Monday 17 February 2014)
I’m very interested in the life of an actor, partly because the acting world does come into my new novel A Passionate Spirit (in its final revision stages).
But also the life of an actor has strong comparisons with that of a writer.
And one interviewee on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme put it perfectly. She said she entered RADA on her first day and saw actress Joanna Page, “so attractive and so talented”, and she thought of how great that actress was, and then she started making comparisons…
“I thought that 2 weeks later I’d be asked to pack my bags and get back up north,” she said.
This sums up what we writers may think a thousand times… when we go into Waterstones and see the huge volume of novels on the shelves, with brilliant, stunning covers, and hugely successful names. And this is how we feel when we see another famous novelist win the Man Booker, or see them interviewed on the TV show we can only dream of being on.
What are we doing? Comparing ourselves with “the great and the good.”
If we do that, we will always fall short.
We will always be tempted to pack our bags and go back north.
This particular actress fought that negative temptation, and stuck it out at RADA. She said she had to be thick-skinned, and “take it on the chin”; it was pretty tough, but by the time her course ended, and she came out, she could handle rejection. “Rejection: that was nothing. After 3 years of RADA I was ready for it.”
She had experienced it so many times, it held no fears for her. Nothing could hold her back.
We know her as Maxine Peake, now a celebrated actor.
If you are a struggling author, take heart from this.