Saturday, 5 March 2016

The Author's If... with apologies to Rudyard Kipling

The Author's If (with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

If you can keep your imagination when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust your story when all editors doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait for a publishing contract and not be driven to despair by waiting,
Or being tagged on Facebook, don’t deal in tagging,
Or being ignored, don’t give way to ignoring,
And yet don’t look too desperate, nor blog too much about it:

If you can dream of popularity—and not make sales your master;
If you can write—and not make daily word counts your aim;
If you can meet with Bestsellerdom and Returns
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to see the stories you've written
Twisted by reviews to make a trap for readers,
Or watch the books you gave your life to, remaindered,
And revert rights and republish them with digital tools:

If you can make a heap of all your earnings
And risk it all on another book,
And lose your way, and start again at the beginning
And never breathe a word about your failure;
If you can force your heart and imagination
To serve your stories long after they are broken,
And so keep going when there is nothing in you
Except the Muse which says to them: “Keep on!”

If you can talk with publishers and keep your innocence,
Or walk with Famous Authors—nor lose the common touch,
If neither critics nor fans can hurt you,
If all writers count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of truth written,
Yours is the Book and everything that’s in it,
And—what is more—you’ll be an Author, my friend.

I originally posted this pastiche poem over at Authors Electric, but the unicorn liked it so much he's posting it here too in case you missed it! If it seems rather familiar, that's because Rudyard Kipling wrote the original poem, which you can read here: RUDYARD KIPLING'S "IF"


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