Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Writer's IF - with apologies to Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when every agent
Rejects your work without a kindly word;
If you can trust yourself to go on writing
When publishers ignore you by the herd;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting
For months or even years for a reply;
Or, being scorned repeatedly, don’t waver
In your attempt to catch a reader’s eye...
If you can keep your dreams and go on writing
Five hundred or a thousand words a day;
If you can meet with five stars or with one star
And value what both those reviewers say;
If you can bear to hear the words you’ve written
Mocked and reviled by critics young and old
And see the stuff you hate sell by the million
While yours stay on the bookshop shelves unsold...
If you can make a pile of your advances (ha!)
And lose them in the weekend’s lottery toss;
Work on your novel in between the phone calls
And never get caught at it by your boss;
If you can force your laptop, mouse and keyboard
To go on working even when they’re old;
And keep on typing when the muse is hiding,
Your confidence is broken and you’re cold...

If you can sit in shops and keep your patience
And not feel daft when no one stops to look;
If you can smile when, after two hours’ waiting,
No one has stopped to buy a single book;
If neither friends nor family can hurt you
When they suggest it’s time to drop your pen
Then welcome to this crazy world of writers –
You’ve proved your worth, you’re totally mad, my friend. 

Rosalie Warren
November 2012


Anonymous said...

Great poem! I can indentify with a lot of this.

Rosalie Warren said...

Thanks, Shirley. Wonder if Kipling ever had our problems?

Rosalie Warren said...

If anyone would like to add a verse of their own, please do...

Dennis Hamley said...

Rosalie, this is marvellous. I'd love to add a verse of my own but why bother? You've said it all. There's not one single experience on it which I haven't excruciatingly had myself, except the bit about the laptop because I've never had one and with luck never will.

Rosalie Warren said...

Thank you, Dennis. And well done on refusing to use a laptop - keep up the good work :-)

Victoria Eveleigh said...

Love it!