Welcome back to Little Novelist. Today I have a lovely guest post from a new author buddy. I hope you enjoy her words and find some insight from this post.
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Recently I abandoned my family for a few days and carved out some time to get away on retreat. This wasn’t one of those writers retreats where you lock yourself away and write a phenomenal amount of words without the distraction of daily life. This was a writers retreat with the rare chance to meet with publishers and to pitch stories to peers at a group dinner. There were opportunities to scribble with friends, to workshop current works-in-progress, to give readings in a candle-lit chapel, to hear from publishers and successful authors or to take time to just shoot the breeze with other likeminded individuals. Or were they really so likeminded?
It’s easy to think that because we’re all writers we’re all working towards the same destination. But maybe your idea of the end-game is at polar opposites to where I’m hoping to land. Sure, we all have lofty ideas of being published (either as novices or as long-term successful authors or as writers somewhere-in-between the two) but we don’t all have the same goals. Not really. And we won't all chase down our dreams the same way either. I think we’re all in agreement that there’s a myriad of different ways to write, just as there are a vast array of roads along the route to publication. None are more noble or more valid than the others. As the famous British playwright, novelist and short story writer, W. Somerset Maugham once said - ‘If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.’
The thing with writing, just like life, is that is vital to stay true to your own version of reality. Staying true is far more important than following trends, or by being distracted by the writing processes of your peers or by the amount of book deals they're securing. Some chase commercial success, some want to write the ‘Great Novel’, some look to share a journey or insights with an audience.
So although I was grateful for the opportunity to meet with my peers professionally and to share my work, the number one lesson I learned was to put on my blinkers.
It doesn’t matter how I choose to write, what my daily word count is, whether I use sophisticated writing software or whether I write long-hand. It’s my business if I take six months or six years to finish my manuscript. It doesn’t matter whether or not I have an agent, whether I submit to this competition or that competition. I don't need to belong to accountability groups or writers’ groups if that doesn't gel with me. What matters is my end goal.
As creatives who battle self-doubt and rejections on a daily basis, we don’t need to compare ourselves to others and our writing journey to their journeys. What matters is that we what create and how we create it, resonates deeply within ourselves. So to share what I have recently learned - put on those blinkers, take a deep breath and get back to YOUR work. You know what you have to do and you will get there in the end however you choose to persevere. Because after all, perseverance is what will win out in the end.
‘Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.’ - BARACK OBAMA
Australian author, Nadia L King, was born in Dublin, Ireland. Nadia is a YA author and short story writer. Serenity Press is releasing a second edition of her book, Jenna’s Truth in 2018. Inspired by Amanda Todd's tragic story of bullying, Jenna's Truth is more than just a teen story it's a lesson in empathy, self-awareness, and speaking out about what matters, especially bullying. Nadia lives with her family in Western Australia.