Keep Writing – You Never Know What’s Around the Corner

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 3.18.12 PMMy talented and wise writer friend, Claire Saxby once told me “there’s only a thin line between being published and not being published. One day you’re not published and the next day you step over the line and you are.”

This whole concept really resonated with me because it’s so true. You are still the same writer/person you were the day before, it’s just that you are now published.

It shows how precarious but hopeful this whole writing business is. It just takes one piece of luck to get you over that line.

But some days you think getting published will never happen – and even once you are published, you wonder when you will be published again.

It’s easy to become despondent – to think about giving up.  But the reality is that giving up is actually harder than you think. If you are a writer, it’s in your blood and can’t be denied.

Extrene Ed's Air AdventuresI had quite a slow year on the writing front last year. I had one book out – and a truckload of rejections – some very nice rejections but they were still ‘no thanks’. I even had a couple of ‘not yet, needs more work’ responses.

I start each year full of hope, but of course never really know where it will lead me.

At the start of this year, I began with my usual optimism, but at the time, I felt it might be a bit misplaced because I had NOTHING on the horizon.  I had a lot of manuscripts written, but no promises of publication.

Then things changed. Early in the new year, I had Tom’s Dare accepted by Pearson. It’s a story about two kids growing up in Colonial Australia and it came out last month.


Extreme Ed's Bike AdventuresAround the time of the acceptance, I also applied to do a mentorship through SCBWI Nevada to work with New York Times bestselling verse novelist, Ellen Hopkins. I knew that competition for the mentorship would be fierce and my changes of getting it were slim, but I had to try anyway.

I also applied for every funding grant known to mankind to help me pay for the program and the airfares from Australia.

Then I sat back and waited – and wrote some more.

In June, I found out that my funding application from the Copyright Agency Limited had been successful.  A couple of weeks later, I learned that I had also been received into the mentor program.

Despite slow beginnings, 2013 was shaping up to be a very good year.

Around about this time, I was contacted by Pearson to see if I would be interested in contributing to their Bug Club books. They wanted me to write a book about extreme sports. I had been skydiving and hot air ballooning and loved both – I thought this book was definitely something I could.  Then one book about extreme sports became two.

Pearson must have been happy with what I had written because they then asked me to write a couple of books about cats – another great topic for animal loving me.

My Cat is Hiding    My Cat is Sleeping

From there followed a book about how to make finger puppets, three books about a girl with a lot of pets, and another three titles.

Scaredy Cat cover    Lost Dog
 Pippa's Pets - Runaway Pony    Make a finger puppet

I had so much fun working on all these titles, and couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be asked to write them.

So for me, a year with no prospects but lots of hope has turned into a truly amazing one.

Who Am I 9781486018598    Butterflies

I Like to Play 9781486018543I just wanted to share my experience with you to show how quickly nothing can turn into something wonderful.

You can’t give up hope.

Things can change for the better at any moment. You just have to keep writing and believing in yourself and submitting your work (no matter how hard rejection can be.)

I’d love to hear about your successes this year. Please feel free to share them in the comments section of this post (and include links to where we can buy your books)

Happy writing:)

24 thoughts on “Keep Writing – You Never Know What’s Around the Corner

  1. I guess hope is a prospect, one well worth working towards. A cup-of-tea post Dee, that is, just what was needed. 🙂

  2. Sometimes it’s hard isn’t it Catherine? But we just have to keep writing, keep hoping and keep sending our work out.

    I hope that 2014 is a good year for you and your writing:)


  3. Such a great post and can really relate to what you wrote. I had a devastating rejection, but it ended up acting as fuel to make me re-evaluate my writing direction and things are absolutely great now. I have two books being published next year-one a children’s book, another an anthology I co-edited, and have had a lot of short pieces acknowledged. I discovered unexpected talents and am experimenting a lot more. You just never know how things will change.

  4. Thanks, Amra and thanks for sharing your experience.:)

    I’m so glad that the rejection fuelled you to do new things and that they are working out for you. Congratulations on your new books coming out next year – can’t wait to read them.

    Isn’t it amazing how in this business, things can change so quickly. It’s often unpredictable and we find ourselves doing things we never expected to do, but it all adds to our growth and development.

    I hope 2014 is a great year for you:)


  5. Dee, one of the things I admire so much about you is the way you always, ALWAYS, have something on the go. Your level of commitment is inspiring. You deserve every one of your successes this year – and more into the future!

  6. Congratulations and thank you for this post, Dee. I really needed to read it this week. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever cross that “published” line and maybe I should stop spending so much time on writing… and then I get a new story idea and my heart beats a little faster and I can’t help but smile as the characters come to life in my mind, and I jump out of bed or out of the shower to scribble it down and I know I just don’t want to give it up. 🙂

  7. Thanks Cherri,

    I’m so glad my post has helped you. The excitement of a new idea is a wonderful feeling isn’t it?

    You can’t give up – like I said, “You never know what’s around the corner”:)

    Wishing you every success with your writing and I hope 2014 is an inspiring and successful year for you.


  8. I keep writing and believing and sending out ( although that is difficult in the children’s marketplace as most publishers want an agent and I can’t find one), just waiting until the time is ripe. thanks for positive article :).

  9. Thanks Bridget,

    Finding an agent in the Australian marketplace is very hard because there are so few of them. The other way you can connect with publishers is to go to conferences like the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators ) conference or the CYA conference where you can meet publishers in person and have the opportunity to pitch your work directly to them. That’s how I got Letters to Leonardo published. I don’t have an agent, although I am now looking for one because I want to try and get my books published outside Australia.

    Good luck Bridget. I hope things happen for you soon:)


  10. Thanks Dee for your encouragement! Much appreciated.
    I’ve created 7 children’s picture books and have read and shown their illustration via interactive smart board, to thousands of children at schools, OSHC, Bookweeks, Libraries, Vac Care, Come Out, Let’s Read etc and people ask me where they can buy my books and so far I can not help them. I don’t like to disappoint, but what can I do in this current marketplace? I went to a SCBWI conference recently here in Adelaide; I think it was the first one here ever! There were no publishers or agents at it and the authors/ilustrators could not give me any leads as to where I could get my books published here in OZ. I researched Auslit, ASA et al.. for an children’s book agent and there are none. No one wants to tackle children’s books, as so few are selling. There was a 5 day window of opportunity at Penguin Australia last month, so hopefully that pans out. Currently, I’m focusing on my YA fantasy adventure novel as I think that this has more chance of being published, and I love writing for older audiences too. I invite you to my recently started page at cheers, Bridget 🙂

  11. Sorry to hear things have been so frustrating for you, Bridget. It’s really hard when kids like your books, but you can’t get them published. I guess that’s why people self-publish. The SCBWI thing in Adelaide was a workshop I think. SCBWI has a conference in Sydney next year and publishers will be there – and you can pitch to them. And like I mentioned, CYA in Brisbane has these opportunities too.

    Your page looks great. Good luck with your Penguin submissions.


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