Basic beast laptops and crappy football boots
When he was younger my son was a really talented footballer. From the age of seven he played for a local team at the weekends and his school team during the week.
The other boys on his teams all had the latest (and most expensive) football boots, miniature versions of the boots their favourite professional players wore.
But not my boy. He had to play in the most basic, non-designer brands because that was all I could afford.
At first I used to beat myself up over the fact that I wasn’t able to treat him to the best - he was the last of his friends to get a games console too - but thankfully he really didn’t seem to care.
All he cared about was playing football, so as long as he had some kind of boots on his feet he was all good. And it made my heart sing to see him regularly outplay many of the boys who were kitted out in the best of the best.
We live in a culture that places so much value on brands and labels it can be all too easy to get caught up in the hype.
Over the years I’ve seen many a social media post from aspiring writers complete with a beautifully staged photo of them deep in thought in front of their super duper and super expensive Apple laptops - usually in a super expensive coffee shop.
And while there’s obviously nothing wrong with people spending their money on whatever they want, it concerns me that those people who can’t afford the swankiest football boots or laptops etc will think that they’re somehow lacking.
So in a bid to redress the balance I’m here to tell you that I have written over 40 books on a series of beautifully basic £200 dell laptops.
These books have all been published by ‘proper’ publishers and not one of them has ever told me I’m not a proper writer because I don’t use a Mac. Although one editor did laugh hysterically when I had to bring my dell into her office in a mini suitcase on wheels because it’s too much of a beast to fit into a bag!
All this to say, it ain’t about the labels and the brands, it’s about the talent - and the graft you’re prepared to put in to hone that talent.
I’m writing this to you on Valentine’s Day - or rather Valentine’s night - from a hotel at Heathrow airport. By the time this pings into your email on Sunday I will (hopefully) be in a little town in the heart of America on a writing retreat.
I’ve been writing books now for over 20 years and this is the first time I have ever gone on any kind of writer’s retreat because I’ve never been able to afford one before. The 40+ books I’ve written have mainly been written from my kitchen table (OK, a couple were written from bed but that was mainly during the pandemic for emotional support reasons!)
More proof, should you need it, that we don’t need a lot of money to pursue and indeed achieve most of our dreams.
And if and when our fortunes change and we’re able to splash a little cash in the direction of our passions it is SO much sweeter for the wait.
As I sat in the hotel bar tonight watching planes take off for all over the world I couldn’t stop grinning, knowing that I would be on one of them tomorrow en route to finally treat myself to some space and time away to fully focus on my writing.
So until next week, when I shall hopefully be able to regale you with adventures from the town I’ll be staying in - the town ‘where misfits fit’ apparently - keep on working towards those dreams, even if your football boots are crappy and your laptop is a basic beast.