We all know the life of a writer is tough. Whether you are published or unpublished days are often spent doing one or more of the following; writing, chucking everything you have written in the bin, rewriting what you’ve retrieved from the bin, editing, getting carried away with best seller day dreams, rewriting again, crying over what is staring back at you on the page, editing again, hating every single word which you have rewritten for the zillionth time, quitting being a writer, deciding you actually love writing…after polishing off a soothing bottle of red, rewriting again, editing again, flinching at comments from beta readers, making a voodoo doll which looks like your main character, editing again and crying with joy at how well your first chapter sounds.
If you are unpublished and yet to secure a literary agent or a book deal you may also experience wonderful dreams featuring you and a literary agent giggling like school children whilst sharing a large KFC bucket, being the recipient of an email shower of literary agent rejections an hour after pressing ‘send’, setting fire to your draft at the bottom of the garden and summoning the energy to… try again.
Up until last week I was bleating a LOT about how challenging life is when you are unpublished. My garden is festooned with the burnt remains of draft novel bonfires, my head is filled with characters orphaned from ditched stories, I could have a good go at carpeting my bedroom floor with rejection emails, my current W.I.P has given me serious crows feet around the eyes and the draft before this one added more wobbly bits to my hips and thighs.
Then I had an epiphany in the cereal aisle of the supermarket.
At the time I was buying my kids (14yrs and 12yrs) a ton of cereal (the amount of cereal they get through is astonishing). As I hesitated over whether I should buy my two the expensive cereal they want or whether I should purchase them undesirable, cheap cereal from the discounted shelf (which they will still eat…but I have to suffer hours of complaints) I had a book writing revelation.
Life as an unpublished author (with a blog) might be painful for me but when I think about what it is teaching my kids…the whole experience is reframed.
Sadly I am not a rich parent. I can’t afford to give my kids expensive holidays, the latest hi tech gadgets or designer clothes (according to them their school friends get ALL of this from their parents – sigh!) but what I can do is teach them about chasing a life dream.
Whilst surveying an array of colourful cereal boxes (on the discounted shelf) I had an emotional moment. I visualised my kids telling their future children all about ‘Nana Lucy.’ Tears welled up in my eyes as I heard my kids saying, ‘Nana never gave up on her dream of becoming an author, she just kept going, even when the world rejected her, she carried on writing and sending out her work.’
Thinking about my unpublished author life from this perspective has changed my world. The thought of getting future rejections no longer makes me squirm. The more I get the better. In fact I am going to pin them up in the family loo. Getting back up and trying again after writing failure (once the bonfire has stopped burning) is something I am now looking forward to.
I am showing my children that life dreams require hard work, early mornings, tears, a lot of coffee, continual reinvention, grit, determination and persistence. My children are learning from me that things you want in life (like debut novels) don’t come easy.
One day, when the cover of my debut novel is proudly hung on the wall in the family living room, they might just view me as inspirational.
Their Mum (me) never gave up.
She didn’t stop believing.
This fills me up inside and makes me stop beating myself up about not being able to afford an expensive foreign beach holiday.
Obviously expecting them to view me as inspirational during their current hormone fuelled, cereal eating, social media crazed, make up YouTube tutorial filled teenage lives could be a challenge, but it will happen in later years.
I am afraid, BlondeWriteMore readers, I am going to be around for a lot longer 😎
Have a great day!
I have since asked my youngest whether she will be proud of me when I finally have a debut novel launch day and she said, ‘yea, I would tell all my friends at school, that author is my mum and that’s the book she wrote. It took her years but she did it.’
Cue tear in eye and knowing nod about it taking years.
Then she said. ‘Things could get awkward if we have to read and review it in class.’
Have you ever changed your perspective on something and seen a new you starting to emerge?