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

Keeping going in the face of disappointment...

IF you're looking for clues on how to treat those two imposters - triumph and disaster - just the same and all that Kipling stuff, then don't read this...

But if like me, you're made of lesser stuff, then feel free to read on...

I received a horrible disappointment today about a writing project of mine.

Before I go any further - a note to those of my fellow writers who are not yet published - don't be under any illusions that it gets easier once you've published your first (or second, or third) novel. Oh, of course it does, for some. J. K. Rowling was laughing by that stage of her career. But for some of us... it definitely doesn't get any easier and I'm inclined to think it may sometimes get harder.

I can't say exactly what my latest disappointment is. All I can reveal is that, while I understand the rationale behind it and don't hold any grudges, it hurts. Oh my, does it hurt...

But only in the way that professional disappointments hurt. It's work, not life, when all is said and done. No one's life is under threat. However much I love writing - it's just work. It's not my family, my kids. The only thing that will suffer is my silly pride. It might well make me a better writer in the long run. (If only I could make that scan, it might actually sound a little Kiplingesque...)

The hard bit is picking yourself up, dusting yourself down and carrying on with the book you're currently writing - not listening to the taunting inner voice that cries, 'You're rubbish and this proves it!'

Not listening, do you hear?

I can write and I will write. What's more, I am writing. Good luck to all you other writers out there, whatever stage of your career you are at. Don't let anyone or anything stop you.

Best wishes