When I was seven years-old I decided to become a writer.
I had written a poem for arbor day (tree planting day) that I was asked to read at school assembly.
Little oak tree by the mill
standing there so quiet and still
stretch your branches up to the sky
up to the birds flying by.
And when the wind oh how it blows
It blows the leaves down to my toes
With little acorns yellow and brown
“Folks gather them all over town.
Oak tree I like you when you’re small
and I like you when you’re tall
But I like it best of all
When the coloured leaves fall from the trees
Look at the things that the butterfly sees.
Not a literary masterpiece and that last stanza is pretty random I know, but I was only seven 🙂
Reading my poem out at assembly and seeing how people reacted to it was amazing, I think it was the first time I realised the power of written words, that what we write can have an impact on people.
Of course I didn’t realise at that time what being a writer actually meant. All I knew was that I loved to write.
English and writing were the only subjects where I shone, but there was nobody at high school to advise me how you become a writer.
So I wrote. I thought that seemed the best way to follow my passion. Then I went to Vic Uni and did their Professional Writing and Editing Diploma, and I wrote some more. I wrote because it’s who I am … a writer.
I battled self doubt often … and the judgements of friends and family who didn’t think that writing was a ‘proper job’.
And after a while I started to see things their way. What other profession would you face constant rejection … constant letters/emails from people saying that your work was not what they wanted? What other profession would you devote hundreds of hours to a project with no guarantee of any financial reward?
I took a job in insurance because it enabled me to eat, but still I wrote. It was a compulsion with me. It was who I was … a writer.
Eventually I went from insurance to marketing to advertising to copywriting … and finally I was a writer.
From there, it was a short step to being an author … or so I thought.
But getting a novel published isn’t easy. You have to find someone that loves your book, loves the story idea and the writing so much that they are willing to publish it.
So began the long road of rejections.
As the years went by, the rejection letters got better … if you can use such a word for rejection. I started receiving letters that weren’t the standard rejection. Editors and agents began to offer feedback on my work … offered suggestions on how to make it more ‘publication ready’, and I embraced all their suggestions.
But still I wasn’t published. And I have to say I became more desperate. I submitted to publishers I might not normally have sent work to. If I’d had the money I think I would have been open to all kinds of publishers offering to publish my work for a ‘not so small’ fee.
The reason I’m sharing this is because writing is hard. No matter how patient we are, how hard we work, sometimes it feels like it’s never going to happen.
My new book out this year with Scholastic Australia
But if you have talent and dedication and lots of ideas i firmly believe that you will find someone who will love and believe in your work as much as you do.
So take heart, don’t give up, but don’t sell yourself short either. Don’t fall victim to scammers and companies seeking to make a lot of money from your desire to be published.
Have faith in yourself and wait for the right opportunity, wait for the publisher who wants to pay to publish your work rather than the company who wants you to pay hundreds or thousands to see your work in print,
Out 1st September with EK books. Loved working with illustrator Tracie Grimwood on this one 🙂
Be patient (although I know how hard that can be). Keep writing, take courses and get better at your craft.
Anyone who values your writing as much as you do will be prepared to pay for it.
Feed and nurture your creative dreams until they bear fruit.
Good luck, keep going and happy writing 🙂
Here’s a link to a page I’ve set up about some of the traps you can face as an author: https://deescribewriting.wordpress.com/authors-beware/