January 7, 2012

Tips for not giving up on your writing

Picture Book Character 'Olivia' by Ian Falconer
The most useful quality you can have as a writer (given a basic amount of talent) is stubbornness, pig-headedness, call it what you will-the insistence against all the evidence that you will produce something worth reading. I'm not sure you can teach that.

I came across this quote in an interview with Phillip Pullman in The Writer's Handbook Guide to Writing for Children  written by Editor Barry Turner.

I've read many books on how to write for children but these few lines resonate with me the most. I wonder how many great writers gave up during the process? Really you could have all the talent in the world but if you're not willing to give it a go, you won't ever know.

The overwhelming disappointment that I felt after receiving a rejection letter in December, made me doubt my ability. It's taken me until now to realise that yes I was eventually rejected after 12 months of waiting, but I made it to the acquisition meeting. I didn't even know what the acquisition meeting was. I've since learnt that the editor would have prepared considerable work to take to the meeting and gone out on a limb for me. That's huge!  So, I've changed my perception on the whole rejection letter thing and found gratitude in a frustrating moment. 

My 10 tips for not giving up are:

1. Look at how far you've come, not just how far you've got to go.
2. Pause and consider things from all points of view, (e.g timing, finances, etc). 
3. Make a step by step plan.
4. Celebrate your milestones (big or small) and give yourself a pat on the back. 
    Do something for you. 
5. Visualise what it is that you want.
6. Surround yourself with positives and re divert any negative energy/thoughts. 
7. Print out affirmations and stick them in your office, car, etc.
8. Remind yourself of why you even started in the first place.
9. Keep trying. What the worst that could happen?
10. Never give up on you.

Here's another inspirational quote for writers:

You must want to [write] enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft—then you can add all the genius you like.
Phyllis A. Whitney


Beth Stilborn said...

Renee, this is excellent advice, and an excellent learning to take away from a rejection letter -- to get all the way to an acquisition meeting is really impressive! (So far, my rejections have been quick, no acquisition meetings involved there.)

I'm glad to find the blog of another 12 x 12'er, as well!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much Beth, for your lovely comment. I've worked out that trying to become a published author especially in the year 2012 isn't for the faint hearted.

It's easy to think, What's the point? It's all too hard but I know that I'll only get there if I keep on writing, rewriting, buying packets of A4 yellow envelopes, licking stamps, and submitting manuscripts.