How Do You Keep Writing When You’re Not Being Published?

100_1423Sometimes we hit a brick wall with our writing and it has nothing to do with writer’s block. We’re not lost for words. We know what we want to write, but we’re paralysed by fear. What if nobody ever gets the chance/wants to read what we have written?

This is the bain of writers and other creators and it’s called self-doubt.

When you’re being paid a regular wage it’s easier to justify what you do – you’re getting paid – you’re buying food or paying for your kid’s education with your earnings.  You can hold your head high knowing that your hard work is receiving a tangible reward.

But what if you’re not getting paid? What if you’re not getting published? What if those words you’ve crafted with your heart and soul are not being read by anyone but you – are not being heard by anyone except maybe your cat or your pet rabbit when you’re reading your manuscript out loud?

How do you justify being a writer?

The only way I know to respond to this is something that I firmly believe.  You don’t have to justify being a writer.  You don’t have to justify being you.  Being a writer is not just a profession – it’s  part of who you are – it’s an extra layer of skin that sits alongside your epidermis, dermis and hypodermis.

Of course we want to be published and we dream of making our mark in the world of literature – but what’s really important is being true to who we are and appreciating that our unique take on the world is just as valid and important as anyone else’s.

In spite of the hardships of being a writer, there are many benefits – and these are the things I hang onto when my self doubt is blooming and my optimism is at a low ebb – and I’m fairly sure that these conditions afflict even the most successful writers.


  1. You can get away with being an adult and still having imaginary friends
  2. You can stay in your pyjamas all day and work
  3. You can travel to places without leaving home
  4. You never get bored – there are always people to watch, things to be inspired by
  5. You can do your job anywhere – your writing device and your imagination can go with you
  6. It gives you the opportunity to escape to another world if you don’t like the one you’re in
  7. You learn to live like a squirrel – learn to survive on winter scraps
  8. You can control the weather – even if it’s only inside your story world
  9. You have the potential to make a difference to the way people think.
  10. You can use fiction to rewrite history in your favour

What you write is important whether you are well published or not. Stick with it and remember there are so many wonderful things about being who you are – a writer.

If you know any other good things about being a writer (published or not) or have any positive experiences to share, please feel free to post them in the comments section below.

Happy writing:)


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:)