Friday 9 October 2015

Positive Thinking for Writers

I always say of writing that “you can do it if you really want to but it’s a big ‘if’.” It can seem a little ludicrous sometimes. You spend hours and days on something that may never be read by someone else. You may never really feel that you earn enough from the writing to justify spending more time on it. Even those who do become rich and famous often have a long hard slog before that happens. So IF we’re to battle on we need to stay positive. Yes, it’s a very big IF.


We all get them. It’s almost like a rite of passage. You have to get so many before you get the acceptance.
But you need to get back on the horse. If you get any feedback at all, study it carefully and as objectively as you can. If you have any individual comment on your work it’s a good sign. One writing friend of mine regards her rejections as “rewrites”. It’s certainly worth revisiting your text before you send it out again. You continue to grow as a writer all of the time. Sometimes it’s obvious why it was rejected when it come back though you would never jave thought it would be when you sent it out.  
There may well come a point anyway when you’ll be glad the publisher rejected that early work. It would be so embarrassing if it were actually published.
So develop a strategy for keeping your work out there but revising it carefully each time you send it out again.   

10,000 hours

Yes, that’s how long they reckon you need to work on your craft until you’ve perfected it. Well, you’ve either completed the hours or you’re working towards them. Either way, every time you write you’re improving. This can be a very individual thing. You may feel that your writing friend is better than you and she’s done less hours. That doesn’t matter. Every time you start producing the words you’re improving and getting a bigger handle on the craft.

The 1* review

We all get them. They have many causes. Sometimes the reviewer hasn’t even read the book. Or it’s not the sort of book they like. Or that haven’t understood it. Sometimes it’s just professional jealousy. Just be flattered by the latter. Occasionally you’re dealing with a troll or a nutter. Don’t react. It’s not worth the hassle.   
2 * or 3* reviews can also seem threatening. I should know. I write for young adults and they can be hard to please. In fact a 3* review from them can seem quite generous. It’s worth taking a deep breath and reading carefully what the reviewer has to say.
Remember, anyway, even bad reviews help to sell books and the reader may even wonder what upset the reviewer so much. The reader is expecting a bad book and your book may well not be that bad after all.
I bought Melvin Burgess’s Doing It because it had upset Anne Fine so much. And I found it not too awful at all.  

I am a writer

If you write, you are a writer. Take yourself seriously if you want other people to do so. Don’t be afraid to say that’s what you do. It took a while but now my family respect my time. If my door is shut, they know they can only disturb in a dire emergency.
My husband, son and daughter now say that their wife and mum is a writer.

Hold on to the dream

Keep on visualising. Work out what success will look like. See your book on the shelf in the bookshop. Envisage your writer life-style. Gradually, then, all of your actions lead to achieving this goal.  
It should be easy. We’re good at creating scenes in our heads. Make this work for you.                    


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