So, writing has been going well recently. I have kept up with the weekly blog and so far this month 80 of you have viewed the blog 125 times- hello and thank you to you! Also, I have addressed all the previous material written for Wendy’s House and took the decision to start again from scratch. Some of the material was almost a year old and I decided it would be best to use starting again as motivation to keep a routine going. One of the things I often feel with Latest Mistake, no matter how much I’ve edited or worked to limit this, I think in places it does come across that it was written in chunks over a length of time. With my second novel I’d love to mature and experience the production of a thoughtful and coherence piece. I’d like to know it better and in much more detail. I hope this will benefit me as the author and hopefully future readers too.
I am hoping a routine of regular writing will also be suitable prep for the Penguin Random House constructing a novel course, which I am aiming to start in April. I emailed to enquire about available spaces and whether this course would be the most appropriate for my experience level. The response I got was not only swift but very helpful. I can also get 10% off the course fee if I pay in full before March. This is very helpful.
A competition has also been brought to my attention with the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, which is an opportunity to women writers over 21 years of age to potentially launch their careers. So I am going to submit Latest Mistake for this. It needs quite a bit of prep, it’s the largest sample I’ve ever seen required at 40-50 pages as well as a 5-10 page synopsis of the rest. In a way this is excellent as sometimes I feel only 3 chapter submissions can be a bit harsh- how much depth into a story can you get into in only 3 chapters? But I need to make sure my work is up to scratch. So with the deadline next month, I’ll be focussing on this over the next two weeks. Anything is worth a shot.
With this philosophy in mind, I am also considering attending a self-publishing workshop as part of a Women in Business Conference taking place in March. Incidentally my awesome friend and graphic designer extraordinaire Michelle Abrahall is also hosting a workshop on Branding and Marketing. On top of this I was given the name of a Strategic Intervention Coach, Ellie Stevenson, who helps coach writers regarding their goals. Apparently there is a free, no obligation 45 minute initial meeting. This sounds quite appealing. I have a rough plan in place for the year, but it would be helpful to get the advice of a specialist.
But, with all of these activities costing money, I have to pick my opportunities carefully.
Overall, I see 2017 working like this. I submit Latest Mistake to as many agents as possible, hopefully 20 by the completion of my Penguin Random House course. If these prospects and the course do not produce the type of opportunity I’m hoping for, I’m going to self-publish Latest Mistake, with a second novel not too far behind to increase momentum. This doesn’t mean giving up on the traditional route; it is perhaps instead another means of getting there.
Ultimately, I have many things to explore and a new found drive to make things happen for me. My husband and I recently went to see La La Land and there was an incredible scene where Ryan Gosling is trying to convince Emma Stone to go to an amazing audition. She starts crying and talking about how she was done after years of getting nowhere, of feeling not good enough and humiliated for far too long. As an artist this was hugely relatable to me and I confess I completely teared up.
This film reminds me that I have to stick to the promise I made myself and give it everything I’ve got.