We Got One!
So, big news - my middle-grade historical story has made the longlist for the Guppy Books Open Submission!
I'm overjoyed that an actual publisher has picked my book out of so many. It's an amazing achievement, and I'm getting better at saying things like that about my own efforts and results.
In other news, I've also attended some great workshops and webinars lately, including Intro to Fantasy with the lovely Natasha Pulley via Cambridge University, and last night was an epic jaunt through how to write a story with the incomparable Maz Evans.
It's times like these that I stop for a minute and see the good side, which has been all too rare of late. The abhorrent displays at the football and with politics in general leaves a lot of apathy but also vitriol swimming around.
So, while the footballers and the kids are carrying the good of the country (everyone else needs to grow up and listen imho), I'm going to focus on writing.
We often write our stories hoping they'll be good enough to get an agent, get published and eventually leave the hellish dross of Real Life behind for a winning life as an author. Just me? Come on, you've had that dream at least once.
But the road is long and the successes fleeting. The rejections pile up, and you start thinking 'What's the point?'
What is the point? Do you just want to get published and famous? Is it about the goal and the measurable quantity of your successes?
Or is it about the quality. Are you producing your best work? Are you putting in the effort and sacrifice? I'm not talking time. I mean are you putting yourself before the story.
DISCLAIMER: A story should NEVER be more important than your self-care or wellbeing.
Perhaps I should rephrase the previous point.
Are you putting your ego before the story?
"It's my story."
"What do they know anyway?"
"I've done three courses already so if nobody wants this, they're idiots."
"I DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO REWRITE THIS AGAIN"
There is a difference between your story and your craft.
Nobody can tell your story, the one you have in your head, the one whose characters you know better even than you know yourself, whose settings you walk in your dreams. But your craft? That is always up for grabs.
The day you stop learning is the day you die, whether by choice because you think you know everything so your brain stagnates, or because you've been wise enough to try and learn every day of your life.
So learn. Study writing. Listen to others. Write new stories. Keep trying and improving. Teach others, but be humble about what you already know. Love the craft, not just 'the story that'll get you published'.
Also, I can't hammer home enough how important finding writing friends has been for me. People who understand the utter agony and celebrate the amazing news bits like nobody else.
And now, because sneaky subtlety isn't my strong point, may I recommend the home of my writing soul, which hasn't actually asked me to leave yet!
Go forth and explore writing, and may all your adverbs be useful!