When you’re a writer things can seem incredibly tough. Competition entries go nowhere, submissions to agents come back with a ‘thanks but no thanks’ and nothing else. It can be hard to keep going but there are any number of reasons why you should keep going.
In fact, if you want some good old inspiration you need look no further than my good friend Mel Sherratt. Mel has been around the crime writing world for a number of years now and has 10 books published. Her latest news, announced in The Bookseller this week, is that she’s not only sold more than a million books, she’s signed a major deal with HarperCollins imprint Avon. It may surprise you to learn, therefore, that Mel started out as a self-published writer.
Her fiction – which she describes as grit-lit – didn’t fit into publishers’ genres, and so she decided to go her own way. She now has an agent, and a new publisher, but her journey hasn’t been easy. Writing one book is tough, following it up with another nine seems impossible. Book three of The Estate series, Fighting for Survival, is my favourite. Read it and see why.
But, Mel’s hashtag will tell you a lot – #keeponkeepingon. And she dead right. Everyone has their different reasons for writing – publication, family entertainment or simply that you want to write. Whatever your reason it’s as valid as any other but you should never give up on it.
There are a few ways to keep on keeping on:
- Keep writing – it seems really obvious, but the more you write, the more you learn and the better your writing will be.
- Finish what you’re working on – yes, we all know that you get to a sticky, wobbly middle bit and feel like it’s all going to pieces, but step back, take a clear look at your work and keep going. Nine times out of ten you can save that piece of work with a couple of tweaks.
- Submit – if you want your work to be published, whether it’s a book or a short story, then you need to put it out there. You’ll need to pull on your thick skin when you send your work into the world, but if you want it you have to be prepared for criticism.
- Publish – the submitting bit is difficult and can be soul-destroying. You follow all the rules and give the agents exactly what they want, but it still comes back as a ‘no’. Don’t be put off by this. There are any number of reasons why an agent might say no to your work, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad – see Mel’s story as an example to follow. There are other ways to get published, including handling it all yourself, which may be the way to go.
So, the moral to the tale is to #keeponkeepingon. Set yourself some goals and go out there to achieve them. And the best bit about personal goals, is that you can change them if they’re not working out. Be prepared to be flexible and you never know what will happen.
This week I set you a challenge – pick one of the four suggestions above and get going on it. You might be surprised by what you can achieve!