And before you think we’re going to descend into some sort of hippy dippy schmaltzy crap, don’t worry. Life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, I get that. We all have sh*tty days, days when nothing seems to go right. We all have our battles, our crosses to bear. Some are bigger, more ferocious, heavier than others and I can’t speak for those of you struggling with some of life’s great challenges. But I can say for myself, that when I wake feeling despondent, wondering why the hell I’m putting myself through this, that I need to be grateful. Why? Because I can write. Because the stories are still flowing through me, the ideas, the worlds, the characters are milling around in my head, a rich and tangled tapestry that I have the privilege of untangling and reweaving onto the page. As a writer that is my reward. The creation of an idea, the light bulb moment when you realise ‘That’s why? That’s why this character did that? So that’s how it all ties together!’ It’s a feeling like no other.
So today I received some not so good news. The agent who asked for my full manuscript wrote back to me. They enjoyed my writing very much, thought my ideas fresh and original, but weren’t sure about some of the things my character goes through. They offered an analysis of my work and pointed out some issues I was not aware of. But in the end it came down to the fact that they weren’t sure who my target audience would be and so they could not offer me representation. Wow. It was a blow to the guts, that’s for sure. It hurt a lot. There may have been tears. But I got up, dusted myself off and realised that I still had a lot to be grateful for. I could turn away and say ‘Forget it, I’m not doing this any more.’ Or I could do what I did. Sit down and write. Write a response, first of all, thanking the agent for their time, letting them know that I appreciated their advice. Then write this blog, to remind myself why I am writing in the first place and to affirm the fact that I still believe in Ambeth, in the story I have to tell. There are a lot of other agents out there but even if they all say no, if I have written a book that’s too difficult to categorize or package, I still have the capacity to publish it myself. And I have a whole group of readers all around the world who enjoyed the story, who want to hear more. And that, as a storyteller, is something for which to be grateful indeed.
(Oh, and I’m not made of iron. It still hurts, believe me. But being able to share my experience helps, so thanks for reading. xx)