Welcome to my writing portal.
“… to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
I’ve been labouring over my fiction for the past few years, in which time I’ve completed one novel, more or less completed another one, and started another two. Although it sometimes seem as if I’ve been trying for ages, four or five years isn’t much in the writerly scheme of things.
Becoming a successful published author requires a number of attributes, among them patience and determination. I’ve been getting quite a lot of practice in both of these areas. I initially sent out my first novel to several agents in 2013. The rejections left me feeling demoralised and dispirited, and were almost enough to persuade me to give up. After a while, however, I regained confidence and decided to keep going.
I’m still getting rejections, but they don’t upset me as much as they used to. Perhaps I’m getting used to receiving them. I expect there are rookie writers who submit a novel and strike it lucky straight away, but they must be in a small minority. In my case, the clouds of rejection have produced a number of silver linings.
Having been gifted lots of time to revise and edit my original work, the novel I first sent out three years ago is considerably different from the one I’m sending out now. I’m sure it would benefit from yet more tweaking, but I think it’s significantly better than it was. During times when I felt I could no longer face re-reading my novel, I had a bash at writing short stories and a series of stories for children. I joined a free online short story writing course, which I found enlightening and inspiring. Changing tack like this has proved surprisingly refreshing.
I’ve often read, in general advice to writers, that finding an agent is even more difficult than getting published. I didn’t understand that until I tried to find an agent myself and discovered how quickly and easily they reject submissions. (I say quickly, but in fact the average rejection time for me has been 26 days between my submission and the agent’s response). I’m still sending out that first novel but I’m trying a different approach, going directly to publishers instead of agents. Only time will tell if it’s a more productive option.
My intention with this blog is to chart my progress towards publication. It may be that I never find a publisher or agent willing to take me on, but I’m only 44 so if I can stay well and alive for a decent length of time I might have half of my life ahead of me. If I’m still trying by the time I reach my 80s, at least I’ll know I’ve given this writing lark my best shot and I can be happy whatever the outcome.