Writing is a frustrating occupation with little reward. It’s easy to get fed up with the rejections, the publications that don’t bother to reply at all and that blank piece of paper which refuses to be filled with wonderful prose.
So why do any of us keep writing? Why do we pick up a pen or drag ourselves to the keyboard day after day? Is it the pleasure of losing ourselves in another world (in which case it would be easier to just pick up a book written by somebody else)?
Hope is what keeps me going. Hope that the editor might like this article pitch, hope that this story might win the competition or this reader’s letter might bag me the star prize.
This hope is fired by small incidents and minor successes along the way – things that cheer me up when the bigger prizes are eluding me.
One of these was my writing group’s Christmas meeting last week. Our new program secretary, Moira, organised a fun competition for a piece of writing containing the phrase ‘It happened every Christmas’ – with prizes from her attic store cupboard. We all took some food (there was way too much food!) and listened to everyone’s entries. We had fiction, poems, memoir and articles. Moira had the unenviable task of awarding the prizes. I received a scented candle in a pretty box (pictured). It may not be an award to add to my CV but it gave me a boost.
A couple of days ago I met up with my writing buddy, Helen. She didn’t award me any prizes but I did get inspired from our chat about plans for 2012. I came away knowing that I have to produce a certain amount of finished work otherwise I’ll let the side down.
Finally, I’ve been shortlisted in the latest Emerald Writing Workshops competition. It’s good to see a couple of other familiar names on the list – fellow blogger, Susan Jones and Sharon Bee who runs the Fiction Addiction website. Fingers crossed for us all!
So, maybe I haven’t won the Booker this month but there have been plenty of little things to keep me going!
#1 by Bev Morley on December 9, 2011 - 12:29 pm
Hey Sally :o)
Congratulations on the short list!
I think that a build up/accumulation of smaller awards and successes is far more preferable to one huge success with nothing to back it up afterwards. I for one would hate to be a one hit wonder! Less really can be more…
#2 by Sally Jenkins on December 9, 2011 - 5:13 pm
Thanks, Bev. I’m still after that big success though!
#3 by Patsy Collins on December 9, 2011 - 6:02 pm
Congratulations on the shortlisting – and the candle, of course! Yes, we all get fed up with rejections, but it doesn’t take too much in the way of recognition to prove our efforts are worthwhile.
#4 by susanjanejones on December 9, 2011 - 6:23 pm
I noticed your name on Eddie’s long list as well. Good luck. It’s quite exciting isn’t it. I think it’s great to have small boosts, though I would love to write a bestseller wouldn’t you? I’m building up to it slowly but surely.
#5 by Sally Jenkins on December 9, 2011 - 8:48 pm
Thanks, Susan & Patsy – and yes I would love to write a bestseller!
#6 by Tracy Fells on December 11, 2011 - 11:15 am
Hi Sally – saw your name on two of the Emerald shortlists (Rags to Riches & 4 sentences) – so good luck with these. Totally agree that sometimes it’s the little successes which mean the most, particularly if they come as a surprise.
#7 by Sally Jenkins on December 11, 2011 - 4:50 pm
Hi Tracy – I notice you made the 4 sentence shortlist as well. I like seeing names that I recognise – shows that we’re all part of the same writing community!