When I began to write about the trials in 2013, you could have been forgiven for thinking it was an excuse for me to have a rant. However, I put a lot of thought into those early blogs and I’ll have you know it wasn’t a simple task. In fact, it’s nigh on impossible regularly producing articles on the ‘joys’ of being an unpublished writer. It proved far easier to prattle on about being depressed and unrewarded in the hope that this might strike a chord. To distract a little from the woe, I wrote a few informative blogs. I might have even managed to add the odd positive remark, although most of the time it seemed like someone had been meticulously putting obstacles in my way. Without connections, money and a thick skin it's certainly not an easy journey.
An unpublished author’s life is far from exciting. The blogs were in danger of becoming repetitive and dull. What I perceived to be a good day was nothing to write home about. Of course, there were wonderful days when no one asked if my work had been published yet, but you can only talk about that once or twice. No one’s going to enjoy reading about the time you wrote 50,000 words, cleaned the house and still managed to feed the kids. You might feel very proud of yourself, but it’s not an achievement which justifies a mention in too many blogs. It’s a dreary existence. Unpublished authors can’t blog about glamorous award ceremonies, because they don’t get nominated for anything. And you’ll be lucky to get invited to publishing parties before you’ve made a name for yourself. No one wants a bitter, baggy-eyed, grumpy unpublished writer for a friend. You might not realise it but you’ve got negativity written all over your miserable face. If you lacked confidence when you set out to get published (and most of us do) then your self-esteem will be non-existent within months of submitting your work. You soon forget how to smile, like someone who’s overdone the botox, except you’ve got deep-set wrinkles and a permanent frown.
The trials not only strip you of a smooth complexion, but they take away your self-respect. By the end of it all, you’ll hate everything you’ve ever written. You’ll stop questioning whether it’s worth pursuing the dream and accept defeat.
During the trials you’ll have politely thanked millions of people for kicking you when you’re already down. Don’t be ashamed if you’ve suffered a relapse and gone back to those critics begging for more. We’re all guilty of grovelling. Every long-term un-published author will have succumbed to arse licking in various degrees. It’s called desperation. The memories will make you cringe so adopt a coping mechanism - pretend it was some other loser who pitched that romantic novel to a crime editor and move on*.
Unnecessarily painful feedback might make you want to cry. Learn to pick yourself up every time a door is slammed in your face. You’ll be rejected on a daily basis. Sometimes it might occur in the nicest possible manner. Never get complacent. In their opinion, your work is a piece of shit whatever way they choose to inform you of that fact. You’ll soon get to the point when you couldn’t agree more. I’ve often wondered what possessed me to submit such excrement, but if you wade through enough sewage, you’re bound to discover one golden nugget in a turd.
Anyhow, I am digressing somewhat and must return to the theme. Like all farewells, I need to steer the subject back on course and break the news. I was on the verge of abandoning the trials and packing it in when a miracle occurred. After seven years of submitting work and three years of blogging I can finally confirm that I have received an author/publisher contract. Is this the end of the trials or just the beginning? Maybe it is the beginning of the end? My advice is to keep reading the blogs - wait and see :-)
*NB: A fabricated example was used to protect the bloggers pride.