Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Fall seven times, stand up eight

A few short years ago we were hoping that one day we’d see our work in print, and now we are published writers. It's what dreams are made of. In spite of numerous rejections, 'turn downs' if you prefer, our perseverance has paid off. At times we have struggled to keep ourselves motivated; often we have considered quitting and each time we receive a rejection we ask ourselves where we are going wrong. Without the support and backing of each other and our writing group we would have given up by now.
After each rejection, the manuscript is put to one side while we consider why it wasn’t acceptable. Then we dust it down, re-read it, re-write according to the editor’s suggestions if we feel them appropriate, and send it off again.
We teamed up to write pocket novels, which we enjoy very much. It would be good to be more successful with them, but we are learning through reading, workshops and taking the good advice on this blog. Our fingers are crossed for the ones we have out with Maggie and Tracey at the moment.
If you are a writer and feeling despondent about your lack of success we hope we can encourage you to persevere with your writing. Whatever disappointments or setbacks you have, don’t give up.
Which bring us back to perseverance. According to the Chambers 20th Century Dictionary perseverance is: going on till success is met with.
Keep working at your writing and hopefully success will follow, but above all don’t let anyone steal your dream.


  1. Good advice and all so true! I always advise someone to start on th enext one as soon as you possibly can. Okay, you need to take a day or two off to catch up cleaning, ironing etc (yuk!) but having a new babay to think about is so much better than worrying about how the child you've launched is getting on. Just like taking the child to it's first day at school! Good luck with the current 'children' Love Chrissie x

    1. sorry, should have checked the typos. Typical me.

  2. Oh Patricia, what a wonderful post!
    You’ve summed up perfectly what writing PNs (or any other kind of writing) is all about.
    It starts with an idea, and then we plot it out. Over the following weeks/months we write like fury, crafting and polishing until our little novel is good as we can possibly make it. In a flurry of elation we send our baby pinging off to Maggie or Tracey.
    That’s the easy bit, isn’t it?
    The nail-biting period that follows as we await a response…well, (for me) that’s the toughest part of this writing business.
    But if it’s followed by an acceptance, then all the previous angst vanishes.
    If not, we lick our wounds and come out fighting again, because that’s what being a writer is all about.

  3. Excellent advice - a published writer is someone who didn't give up too soon (as I heard somewhere!)

  4. You're so right Patricia, success is largely due to failure oddly enough. The ability to look back and analyse why something didn't work, to shelve it and start something new is half the battle. I often find that something that I haven't been able to place with one publisher can find a home with a lot of tweaking and perhaps a change of length or a change of emphasis. I once went to one of Della Galton's short story writing courses and I learnt there that nothing is wasted. She's fabulously successful but only because she works really hard at a)writing lots of short stories b)sending them out regularly in a very focussed way and c) looking on rejection as something she can turn around - often she looked at a rejected story with a different eye, re-jigged it and came up trumps. We all feel miserable when our 'babies' are rejected but despair is not constructive. Well, not for long anyway. I find a glass of wine, and the passage of time help me to pick myself up again!

  5. Great post which should inspire us all to never give up, just keep ploughing on. I was surprised to learn that even established published writers can have books rejected at times - I naively thought that once you were 'in place' as it were, you could just keep churning them out! You are only as good as your last book apparently. Which actually isn't a bad thing because it keeps you working hard and producing your best.
    I admit to having an A4 folder full of rejection letters from my early days but now if it happens I don't stop writing for ages as I used to, I shrug my shoulders, cry some tears and then pick up my pen again. Besides, writing is an addiction, it's not something you can just stop doing, whether published or not.

  6. Thank you all for your comments. We enjoyed your feedback.

  7. Patricia, wise words. Rosemary, I think that saying is something like ... "a published writer is an unpublished writer who didn't give up" or similar. More wise words indeed.
    BTW, all my published novellas with My Weekly Pocket Novels were rejected M&Bs!! So never give up and never throw anything out. Originally 50,000 of course I just cut out all the extra emotional tension required by M&B which got down to the story length for a PN novella but still with plenty of romance, and they were all subsequently accepted as PNs. I was actually pleased when the PN length went up to 50,000 as that gives you more scope to round out the story with other characters and back story of the H&H.
    I've just finished the mammoth 5-6 month task of writing an Australian historical of 120,000 words and 400 pages, and am taking a few days breather to catch up on a few things. Then the difficult choice of deciding what to write next. Too many stories half plotted out...but one will call to me.
    Re giving up, soooooo many times when I've been tired or overworked or bummed with the industry, I thought [very briefly, mind you] of giving up. If I didn't write, I have nothing else that I love enough to replace it or drives me like my writing. We are meant to do it, so we do.

  8. Great post, Patricia! My friends and I decided ages ago not to call rejections rejections. We prefer to think of them as re-submission opportunities!

    It's also true that with each pocket novel you write, you learn something new.

    But I would like to add that just because your pocket novel isn't right for Maggie or Tracey, there are other opportunities out there. My next Siren romance, The Future Mrs. Winter was one that Maggie turned down. So there's usually a home for your story somewhere.