When I first realised that I wanted to be a writer, I didn’t expect instant success. I knew that there was a big learning curve awaiting me before I could write as a professional, I knew that experience would also play a part in my success and as a young writer, I wasn’t that worldly. Every experience, every rejection, every success all added to my determination to be the best writer that I could be. The journey wasn’t always easy, but it was worthwhile.
You can’t write with sincerity if you have not lived. I found that out. I was shutting myself away after work, feverishly typing away on an old typewriter (it was 30 odd years ago) and capturing thousands of words on paper. I thought they were good but not good enough. Turns out I was right. Publishers rejected them. It was soul-destroying.
To combat the hurt following a series of rejections, I turned to poetry and allowed all that inner angst to come out. Words flowed, inspiration peaked and it was like creative therapy. The hurt of rejection led on to other things, my interest in psychology and view of others, my passion for nature and the way progress often meant exactly the opposite in the real world. When I began writing about things I cared abut and had experienced for myself, my writing became much stronger, I had intent and belief. Then it dawned on me, my focus had been on writing about love and romance, and it was not really me. Sure, it was a fantastic market with lots of potential for publication but was I trying to write short stories just for publication? I realised yes, I didn’t really want to write about romantic love, as someone in their late teens, I hadn’t ever experienced real love for myself -not truly.
So instead, I started trying out different genres but putting my own slant on it. Plots became more evolved, I added layers to each story and sometimes those layers had sub-layers. I wasn’t creating a story, I was creating a micro world where I could construct fictional elements based on my own perceptions and desires. In short, I was adding a little bit of me into my writing.
Those rejections were a turning point for me. I grew up creatively speaking from that point. It was still some years before I decided I was ready to send out more manuscripts and I’d like to say that I instantly got published, but I didn’t. But suddenly, it all started happening. I began to win or be placed in writing competitions, poetry that I had written with passion was suddenly accepted and I got my article writing break for the big national magazines.
For many writers, it is a long and winding road towards writing success. Many stumble and fall along the way. Some pick themselves back up and dust themselves off, others give up writing. The real writers among us never give in, even when rejections are like a proverbial slap in the face. We just keep going, mildly chuntering about the unfairness of the rejection and we learn from it. I still learn even now and yearn to try out different writing techniques and wondering how to stretch my creativity still further. I don’t think I have achieved my best work yet and even though I am successful – I write full-time and I love my job, I know I can be better and write something amazing.
Goal setting never stops and once you push through fear of rejections, absorbing techniques and life along the road, success will happen. But you have to approach those goals with true resilience and dedication.
“Image courtesy of [stuartmiles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.