I tell you, you know you’ve got the hang of this writing lark when the inevitable impression of ‘this book is rubbish, I should give up and become a milkman’ sneaks upon you, the reflex reaction is not one of gin-imbibing despair, but the notion of ‘Aha! This is all part of the process’. I have considered becoming a milkman many times during the writing of all the PorterGirl books and experience has taught me that once you get past the self-loathing, a really productive phase of writing emerges – as long as you keep on writing. If you give up on the writing bit and focus on the self-loathing, things rarely end well. But anyway.
You can imagine my surprise at being strangely heartened by the realisation that my work in progress is rubbish. For this can mean only one thing – that a brave new era of revision and rewriting looms like breaking dawn upon the horizon and before long, my book will be brilliant again. There is no need to drink myself into a miserable stupor after all. The option of drinking myself into a cheerful stupor remains very much on the table.
There have been many moments just recently when I’ve felt like I can’t really do this – I can’t possibly carry on pretending to be a writer and surely I will never complete the various projects entrusted to me to any kind of professional standard. After all, I’m just winging it, aren’t I? Isn’t this all just one big joke?
And then the big wide world has a way of giving you that little metaphysical hug that you need. Way back in February I engaged in the fearsomely intimidating submissions process for literary agents Curtis Brown. For experience, more than anything. I heard nothing back and forgot all about it. Until an email arrived in my inbox the other Friday asking to see the full manuscript for Sinister Dexter. They’ve missed the boat with that one, but the encouraging words of the agent certainly put a spring in my step. Later that afternoon, I received this…
The moral of the story – never, ever give up. You never know just how close your next success might be.
Also – probably don’t look to writers to provide morals. Pretty sure the ones we have are not fit for purpose.