There were lots of little steps along the way to my becoming a real writer, from getting my hands on notebooks and pencils at primary school, to joining a writers’ group, to getting my first novel published, but I didn’t do this by myself. Like a ball on a bagatelle board, I’ve often been pushed to the next step by something I’ve read, words that became mantras, or by mentors, wonderful people without whom I doubt I would ever have become a writer.
Like thousands of others, I’m a huge fan of the ‘The Voice’.
|The Voice UK judges 2014: courtesy of telegraph.co.uk|
It was this advice that helped me to get my first novel published. When publishers rejected my story, one of my mentors said, ‘Keep going. Ask them if they’ll look the story again, if you work on it.’ So I did. It took me four years and many drafts, but eventually the story was published and became my first novel for OUP, ‘Dark Thread’.
One of my new friends at Authors Electric reckons you have to be mad to be a writer. So true. There’s definitely madness in refusing to give up, when publishers, constrained by accountants and a shrinking market, can no longer support lower-to-mid list writers. I know it’s not logical to keep trying against the tide. Look, I’ve tried giving up, I’ve tried telling myself to bin the book I’m writing and enjoy the garden and my new exercise bike, instead, but I can’t give up. And now, we have the chance to publish our work online, so I'll just keep going!
Pauline Chandler www.paulinechandler.com