Saturday, 25 January 2014

I. Am. Terrified.

Having hit a lot of big sign posts recently, finishing the manuscript for The Book is actually within sight. If I can keep up my pace I estimate that I could actually reach the end in about two months, rather than four.

Which leaves me to face something I've been ignoring for months: I am absolutely terrified. 

I've always known that breaking into the writing sphere was going to be hard. It seems like the entire literary world (and the rest of the world for that matter) does nothing but tell me: its rough out here, kid. I think that given the constant stream of warnings and crushing personal accounts of failure, ambition can be quelled before the first words are even on the page. Certainly, it was a concern for me when I first started writing. But it was more important to me when I started that I try and do it at all. I know there are plenty of people out there who had the same thought. After all, if no one ever took the chance, there would be no new writers! So we set off on our endeavours with hope and crossed fingers and the promise that, 'it's OK just to finish at all'.

In the knowledge that I will soon need to start thinking about The Next Stage, I've started casually browsing through publishing guides: flicking through publishing books when I'm stacking shelves in the library, pausing in the self-help section in Waterstone's, even buying a writing magazine (which I will be reviewing hopefully in my next post).

What I've found from this is that, of course, publishing a book really is as scary as people make out.

Setting aside the difficulty of finding an agent willing to promote you and getting your book read by a publisher, there seems to be a hell of a lot more to getting your book out into the world than just writing it. It seems like every perspective writer has to have completed at least a dozen writing courses, if not a Masters Degree in Creative Writing; have a portfolio of published short stories, poetry and articles; and have a list of competition winnings to tote in their writer's CV. Me, I have none. Zero. Nothing. I've never had so much as a problem printed in Teen Miss, never mind won a national writing competition. I feel like I'm going in blind. Right now it seems entirely possible that if I do send my poor little Book out into the big wide world that the best I could hope for is that the bigger kids don't just laugh and sent it home crying.

How can I hope to compete with all these people who've put years and years into their writing? Even if I do have a good idea, even if my book is somewhat original and a little bit interesting, even if its actually kind of good, how can I ever hope to get someone to look beyond my pathetic begging letter to see it? When there are writers who can fill a whole page just with their accomplishments, how can just another 'girl who always dreamed of writing' get herself noticed?

I'm still hopeful though. Even though I'm scared, I'm ever the optimist. Hopefully, I am as prepared as I claim to face years of hard work and rejection in order to see ambitions reached. In the meantime, I'll start trying to get a better picture of the world I'm about to face. More books, more research, more more more...

Oh gods, they're going to eat me alive...

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