As the release date for my romance ‘Warm Hearts in Winter’ draws nearer – September 30th, everyone! – I began thinking about how long it’s taken to get to this stage … and then wished I hadn’t.
The answer is years … no, decades. It doesn’t bear thinking about. It’s not like I’ve been writing without cease, or indeed, searching for elusive publication without cease … but it did take an awful lot of toil and frustration before that glorious e-mail of acceptance!
I suspect that for any writer who finally gets a shot at publication, there are those congratulatory phrases from well-meaning friends that they just don’t want to hear.
“Lucky you!” is one. Now, it may be that luck played a part – perhaps the writer knew someone who knew someone who just happened to work wherever. Or perhaps the person who plucked their manuscript from the slush pile was feeling kindly and benevolent that day. But for many writers, luck never even pokes its nose round the door. It’s not easy to put in years of hard slog and learning and honing your craft and facing rejection after rejection, only for someone to suggest it was all down to luck!
“Gosh, that’s sudden!” is another. Well, it might seem sudden to the recipient of the good news, but for a writer who likes to keep their long battle with anonymity under wraps until there’s a glimmer of hope, all it means is that they didn’t tell you they’d been writing for the past however-many-years because they didn’t want you to think they were a hopeless amateur with pie-in-the-sky dreams!
Then there’s the assumption that you’re not a ‘proper’ writer unless you’re published. Oh … please don’t suggest that to someone who tells you they write. For those who are happy to write for their own pleasure and personal development, it wasn’t even an issue until you suggested it should be. And for those who do have dreams of publication and have spent long years chasing it, it’s like rubbing salt in the wound. Above all, it doesn’t mean they’re a bad writer. It only means they haven’t found the right home for their work yet!