I’m not stupid. I know that in terms of trying to get published the odds are against me.
But I’ve often heard that the only difference between a published author and an unpublished one (as long as they both have the ability to write) is that the published author never gave up. They were tireless in writing and rewriting and sending their MS out and then sending it out again when it came back as if a boomerang (and rewriting if required). They kept doing that until they beat the odds. Because apparently it’s a numbers game and on that basis, every rejection slip that gets sent back, though it may generate a bout of tears and wine drinking, gets you one submission closer to success. (Watch out for a post in the next few days re. what my personal odds are).
What that tells me is:-
Talent + Passion + Luck + Pride + Perseverance = Published Author
I’m finding it tough to honour that idea at the moment. I am spending 95% of my writing time revising The Lost Weekend and even with knowing that every page rewritten makes the book better than it was, I am heartily sick of it! It’s a huge effort not to be distracted by entering competitions or wanting to do other writerly related things. I originally started this book early in 2010, and though I have put it away for periods of time to write other things, I keep coming back to it because I think it’s a story worth telling. But because I have lived with it for so long, I do have moments when I think that I should just consign it to the bottom draw and move on. Then I read things like this interview with bestselling author Lesley Pearse on the RNA blog, and I think again:-
Q1. Please do tell us a little of your journey as a writer. Would you say it was an easy one?
A. My journey as a writer was a long and tortuous one. I wrote 3 books before ‘Georgia’, all of which were huge tomes, and pretty dire. I came up with the idea for Georgia after being told by Darley Anderson, now my agent, that I could write but the one he’d seen was rubbish and I was to go home and write about something I knew. My second husband was in a rock band during the 60’s, so I knew about struggling musicians, so this seemed to be a perfect choice of subject. I finished it in 6 months but it was 6 years, after many rejections and re-writes before it was finally accepted for publication. I was 35 when I first began writing, 48 when finally published, thought there were lots of short stories during that long period.
(For the full interview see http://romanticnovelistsassociationblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/interview-with-bestselling-author_22.html)
I am frankly astounded and inspired by Lesley’s perseverance and passion. I’ve read some of her books and boy, they’re good. The thought that they might never have seen the light of day if she’d let herself be defeated by the potholes in the road to publication doesn’t bear thinking about.
Six years to get that ‘first’ book published. Hmmm. I have only given The Lost Weekend two and a half years (with breaks). So my mind is made up. I am not done with The Lost Weekend yet. Perseverance will be my new middle name (I’ve always felt cheated by not having a middle name so this deals with two things at once!)
I would love to hear other tales of perseverance/stubbornness/sheer bloody-mindedness, so please do share.
On a separate note, the Novelicious Undiscovered showcase of entries is three-quarters of the way through – with mine up on 29 May – so do check out the fabulous entries when you get a chance to via the following link and then by clicking on the name of the entry that you wish to read (and comment on please) from the list:-
For now, happy writing, Nikki 🙂