Sunday, December 17, 2006

Conf 286: The Long Haul

I always find other people's how I got published stories fascinating. Louise Doughty's Novel in a Year in this weekend's Telegraph about her many false starts as a novelist shows how tough it can be.

I've been going through a doubtful phase and Louise's story of her determination to keep going was inspiring. My trajectory, from casually enrolling in a beginner's writing class in an attempt at getting my brain back after having a baby; to writing short stories and the thrill of winning little competitions and seeing them in anthologies; to writing a novel and getting an agent after only writing 3 chapters; to getting the 6th publisher to take me on, has been fairly cushy in comparison. Thanks to the writing classes and all the friends I've met through it, also very enjoyable. Apart from the 5 rejections, which nearly finished me off, a continuous upward spiral. But then comes the slipperly slipway that most writers have to deal with at some stage or another, trying to keep onwards and upwards as agents get fewer scripts accepted; as editors have tougher marketing departments, only after the next Chantelle or Jade, to convince.

Debi Alper's report of her positive rejection (the worst of the worst kind of rejection letter) is only another confirmation of how bloody hard it is to get back out there. Dave Hill, meanwhile, has managed to get his new third novel on the rails & has been having a little ponder about the state of play - interesting comments too. Time to enrol on another course and go back to those enjoyable, stress-free hobby days maybe.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.


Debi said...

I'm sure the lesson is that we have to write for the pleasure - or sanity - it gives us. Or because we have no choice. Or because the alternative would have us locked up in moments.

Anything else we get in the way of acknowledgement (or £££) is a bonus but can't be the sole reason for doing it ...

Let's hope 2007 is the year for wish fulfillment!

Anne Brooke said...

Oh, I really feel for you, and all of us, on this one. It's hell out there, as far as I can see!! I am seriously considering taking my usual self-publishing route for my next novel rather than force myself and my agent through the agonising and thankless mill for a third time.

After all, it's certainly true to say that I've had a million times more joy from self-publishing (which includes starting a small company with some like-minded friends) than I've ever done from "the trade".

Something to ponder, indeed. But in the meantime huge good luck with your stuff.