There was a day a few years back - maybe more than one but this one sticks in my mind - when my husband came home from work and found me sobbing into the kitchen island. I think that was my lowest point. I don’t even recall what had prompted that particularly melodramatic reaction, but I know there were times when being a published author seemed an impossible ambition.
If only I could have seen this photo…
I took this last week when I was gathering together my resources for teaching a ‘Getting Started’ workshop at ChipLitFest. I wanted to take copies of my books with me and it was the first time I’d stacked them up together including my latest book THE HIDDEN WIFE. It sounds stupid, but I hadn’t really thought about the fact I now have three physical versions of my three books. Three published books. Three books with covers I love, spines that bear my name, acknowledgements and dedications inside that share the names of all the people who have helped me achieve this.
When I was struggling to get published I can’t tell you how many times I wondered if I was deluding myself. Was it pure vanity to call myself a writer and spend so much time and emotional energy on a journey no one had suggested I should undertake and had no guarantee of a successful outcome? In fact, the odds were very much against me. I found my agent via the slush pile, I knew no one in publishing and although I worked hard at my craft, I had no formal writing training, everything was self-taught.
What I did have was enough self-belief to never give up. Looking back, I don’t think I ever seriously considered it as an option. I was dogged. Sometimes all I had was my tenacity. Nothing else kept me going but the dream, and the odd bit of encouragement as I received ‘better’ rejections.
So if you share my dream don’t give up, keep trying, improving and editing and submitting. Mourn the rejections, then move on. Celebrate the successes as they come and remember that the only real guarantee is that if you give up, it won’t happen. And if you find yourself at your lowest ebb, crying into the cold granite worktop, know that one day you might be holding your published book or short story and it will all be worth it - promise!