Only those who don't give up succeed (cliche but true)
Nine years ago, while studying creative writing at university, I began writing a young adult fantasy novel. Before I’d even finished the first draft, I started researching how to be published. I read an article by a debut author that stated it takes on average five years from beginning a new novel, to getting it published. I laughed; I’d received top marks for the first few chapters, so surely this would be snapped up by a publisher. Well, approximately a thousand rejections and six years later, I understood what that author meant. I won’t go in to the highs and lows of eventually self-publishing that first book of mine. I’ll just say it was like an apprenticeship, I learnt so much and am grateful for every moment of the journey (now, anyway.)
Here I am though, now nine years later, still writing and learning along the way. To be honest, if I had known back then that it would take so long, I probably would have given up and tried my hand at something else. I am very impatient by nature and there’s no way I could have coped with the idea of how much I needed to evolve, both in writing style and as a person, in order to write something I’m truly proud of. I’m so glad I was naïve and cluelessly kept going. Despite deflating with every rejection and questioning my talent almost weekly, there was a part of me that was determined to keep going. It’s not just because I enjoy writing. It’s because I feel ‘right’ when I’m writing; that’s how I know this path, no matter how rocky, is for me. I believe this is true for all of us. If you have a passion for something and don’t feel whole unless you’re doing it – you are on the right path. If we give in to the obstacles and leave our dream behind, we would have no idea how close we were to eventually achieving it. The only difference between successful authors and amateurs is that they never gave up. This famous cliché truly has a point!
Nine years ago, I could not have written Letters To My Yesterday, I simply didn’t have the ability yet. I’m glad it took me so long to get here. I have used every bump as a lesson, I’ve taken criticism on board and improved the way I write. And spectacularly I’ve also learned to be patient, making this whole experience far more enjoyable. This long journey has resulted in a book I am proud of, a story that feels like part of me and it is thrilling to share it with readers. I encourage everyone who is at that point where it feels like their dream may never come to pass – hold on to it tightly. Keep believing in yourself and living in the excitement that your dream will come true. It may happen slowly, very slowly even, but you will get there.