Tuesday Writing Tips – Stay Calm and Keep Writing

IMAG4714It has taken me a long time learn to be patient about my writing, but I feel like I’m finally getting there. Hard as it has been for me to accept, the fact is that writing and getting published is a long term process that can’t be hurried. You just have to stay calm and keep going. It takes as long as it takes and that’s just the way it is.

My SCBWI Nevada Mentorship has been an amazing ride and it’s far from over yet. I have hopes to be published as a result of the mentorship, but no expectations.

For me, I’ve already achieved so much.  My verse novel manuscript has gone from an initial draft of 17,000 words to the current version of around 50,000 words – and I know that there’s still a long way to go.

I have a plot that I’m reasonably happy with and two characters that I feel I know almost as well as my own children.  There are still scenes to develop and places where I know I can make the words work harder.

IMAG4710My goals for the project were to hone my verse novel writing skills, learn more about global readers and find an international publisher for my book.

I feel like I’ve already achieved the first two goals. My mentor, Ellen Hopkins has been truly amazing with her helpful, encouraging and perceptive feedback. Under her guidance, my characters have gone from admired acquaintances to close family members.  She is pushing me to be the best writer I can be.

So I guess my point to all this is that nothing happens overnight in the world of writing and publishing. We have to just keep calm and keep going.  We have to be patient.

My verse novel Hating Ric started out life as Street Racer back in 2008 (I’m still debating about which name I prefer). Here are some of the steps I’ve gone through to get it to its current stage.

2008 – First draft and another three drafts completed.
2009 – Rewrote in prose as an experiment to see if I liked it better – I didn’t.
2010 – Back to writing in verse. Queried with a couple of agents with some positive feedback but realised manuscript wasn’t ready – back to the computer.
2011 – Good friend Svetlana Bykovec wanted a YA novel to make into a book trailer. Here’s the result.
2011 – Attended the SCBWI LA conference and did a verse novel writing workshop with Ellen Hopkins
2012 – Many more drafts
2013 – Apply for SCBWI Nevada mentorship to work with Ellen Hopkins.
2014 – Finish the novel and submit it to agents (I’m still working on that one.)

I’m off to Nevada again on 20th April for the next part of the mentorship.

It’s going to be great to catch up with my mentor and all my writing and illustrating buddies again.  I’m looking forward to finding out how everyone else is going with their projects, and I’m going to be attending  a session on how to write a query letter and synopsis – definitely things I need to perfect.

IMAG4962Don’t be disheartened that things aren’t happening fast for you in the publishing world. Stay Calm and Keep Writing.

Writing is like a good wine it has to have time to mature – it can’t be rushed. Eventually, I’m hoping to send Ric off into the big wide world, but not until I’m absolutely sure that he’s ready.

If you have tips on what keeps you going with your writing, feel free to share them in the comments section of this post.

Happy writing:)


My mentorship experience was made possible thanks to the generous assistance of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund which provided me with Creative Industries Career Funding. http://www.copyright.com.au/cultural-fund