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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Struggle with Thyself

It's an established fact that sending out your work to agents and small press can be more than nerve-wracking for a writer. But one of the worst things to do is to bottle all of it up. Just writing this is a little more effort than most of my other blog posts because it's so personal to me.

There are so many problems I've had to face with myself when pursuing my goals as a writer. I've had difficulties with my self-esteem which could impact both my work and personal life, I was incredibly blasé about how good my writing would be and whether or not agents and publishers would accept me, and on top of that I have a fiery independence and pride that makes me protective about my work and thus nervous about showing it to others. This is a recurring story for me and for almost everyone who treads this thorny path, I suppose.

Another fault I've needed to tackle is that I'm a person who wants everything to happen at once. Of course, that also means that I can be tempted to rush things through. With writing, that's a bad thing to happen. You make spelling and grammar mistakes, write things like synopses or scenes in the light of your own knowledge rather than anything else. If you're also slightly lacking when it comes to constant confidence, it can feel crippling to find that you've sent off four submissions with a synopsis that's constructed in such a way that a key detail is revealed too late, leading to a potential bad impression. Which I've done. And one of them was a limited time thing. And I'll probably never be able to submit this work to them ever again. Bummer.

Of course, that's all in the past, and you never know. And there's plenty of other fish in the sea. And plenty more books for me to write and get right next time. Of course, there's always the problem of it feeling like a solitary crusade. This blog is a more than useful outlet for my need to express myself, but it's not the right platform to actually display my writing. With a clogged self-publishing market, my own relative inexperience, and a continuous feeling of dread for the future that comes as a side-effect of my active imagination, it's sometimes difficult to press on. But I know I should. I've spent the past ten years or so working on my writing skills, ever since I was sitting in a deck chair and started jotting down fan fiction in an exercise book while watching out shed being built to stop myself from getting bored.

This world is both cruel and kind; I know that and I accept it. I'll likely need to be ruthless to myself, to my work, maybe even to my agent; I also know and accept that. I'll be coming into a world where I'll be up against stiff competition in a crowded market: that's a dead certainty. It's just a bit difficult to reach into myself and find that when I'm the kind of person I am. Someone who'd go out of his way to help a lost puppy get back home (did actually happen last month, by the way). But I will. I didn't get this far being a complete softy. On myself or others. I won't let my flaws drag me down into the mire of 'struggling' or 'frustrated' authors unable to get together a submission or face an official without stammering or stumbling or crumbling into a heap. And I won't let myself become a conceited prat who doesn't read other authors or accept criticism of their work. I'll succeed, I'll make a living, maybe even make a name for myself. That's my promise to myself, and those who've bought my work thus far.

I'll succeed!