Posts Tagged ‘ambition’

A story about animals, you say? That will never sell!

I just read this fantastic article from the Book Examiner that Alexis Grant posted on her regular writers’ roundup.

Can you believe any publisher would be short-sighted and foolish enough to reject Nabokov, Borges, Proust, Orwell, and Kerouac? Well they did – many many times and with spectacularly crushing critiques. It is so great to read their rejections now that they are illuminated by the twin lights of success and hindsight. Classic.

If you are feeling despondent, worried you may never be published, or hurt by someone telling you your writing doesn’t cut the mustard, I recommend you read this article about 30 famous authors whose works were rejected by publishers. I guarantee you will feel better!


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I’ve recently returned to my native shores and now find myself involved in the thrill of an employment-slump job hunt (joy!). I have made an organisation-values list and have been adament to stick to it. But here I am, one month in, with a few interviews under my belt and still no job offers. I have been considering broadening my job-seeking horizons, but really want to stick to organisations that are working for positive change in our community. The problem is that the not-for-profits are probably those hardest hit by this global recession, and hence the shyest in the recovery phase. There simply are not that many jobs on offer!

"Please don't do a reference check"

I think I will stick to my ideological guns, but the whole process of “putting my best foot forward” lays awkwardly on my shoulders. While I would never dream of out and out lying on my resume, I am fully aware that most people flex their creative writing muscles shamelessly on job applications, plumping up dull duties to sound oh-so-important and using industry acronyms to prove they have what it takes to survive in corporate bullshit slinging sessions (AKA “meetings”).

I admit that I partake. But, I wonder, how much bending of the truth is too much? When does creative flair in your non-fiction simply become autobiographical fiction??

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I’m restarting my manuscript (again). *Sigh*

This is what happens – I start working on what I sometimes refer to, quite enigmatically (I like to think), as my writing “project” and all is going well, words a-pouring and such, and then BAM! I get to around 10,000 words and am suddenly and indubitably struck with the realisation that it’s just not right or, with perhaps more aggravation although somewhat less dishearteningly (it’s a word now people, let it go!), I have some revelation on a new way to structure the story and so, after mounting so many ladders with cheerful abandon, I find myself sliding wooooosh down the back of some hidden serpent and back to the beginning.

Is this normal? Is this just part of the creative process, allowing me to write the next knock-their-socks off literary gem? Or is it just a form of self-destructive procrastination? I feel as if I’m living a sort of literary Groundhog Day and I need help!

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For as long as I can remember I have written. Words have wept out of me in times of sadness and exploded from my soul in celebration. I remember sitting on window sills, laying in parks, musing over coffee in cafes, observing from dark corners of bars and always, always my notebook has been with me…
I know I must write. I get sick when I don’t write, sick of heart, sick of body, and sick of mind. Writing is a form of self-expression but mostly, for me, a kind of meditation and therapy. It keeps me balanced and healthy and, usually, happy.

And so now, after a 15 year love affair, I hope to make my mistress my wife… I want to confidently scribble “Writer” in that little profession box on a thousand banal forms…

The problem is I have NO CLUE how to go about it. Writing was always a dream but I have never had the faith in myself to make it a reality. I have always been scared… I mean, what if i suck?! What if I fail at the one thing that matters most?

As an avid collector of quotes and inspiration I have, for years now, had the following as a kind of mantra (although I strangely cannot recall where I got it from):
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the belief that something else is more important than fear.

And so, with that in mind, I have decided to throw myself out there and begin the epic quest to fulfill my dream, to be who I always dreamed I may one day be – a writer. I have started this blog as the first step in the process, to put my words out there and see how it feels, to express myself publicly, and also, I hope, to receive encouragement and advice from fellow writers who are ahead of me on the path, and perhaps inspire a few who have the same secret dream.

This is an open invitation – let’s open a dialogue on writing and the writers life, provide advice and inspiration and outlet to the thousands (millions?) of aspiring writers out there; and, though we are afraid, let’s have the courage to believe that something else is more important than that fear, and that is the simple and perfect beauty of words on the page expressing something deep and true within us all.

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