Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Writing, out loud....

I am lucky to have Megan, from Writing Out Loud, guest posting for me today.

Megan's blog is the tip of the iceberg in terms of Megan's love of writing, and her committment to it.

Thank you Megan.


I found the book in my parents’ house, in a box full of memories tucked away. I opened it up and saw the name written on the title page: Megan J. Blandford.


vintage books

Seeing that book, with the name carefully written by nine-year-old me was enough to reassure me, to encourage me to push on.

It was back in primary school that I first decided I would be a writer. I would read books, lose myself in another world, and then dream at night about writing stories of my very own.

As a child I would write my name in my books – the name I wanted to write under when I was one day an author myself – and pretend that I had written each of my favourite tales.

As a teenager, I would read about authors and want that life for myself. I’d hear them speak at school events and enter a kind of daze that I hoped was a visit to my future.

But, as an adult, I lost it. I lost my dream. I was carried off in a stream of practicality: a stable job, steady income, mortgage and climbing a career ladder. I had to be sensible, I had to grow up. And so I left my childhood dreams behind.

Alas, I never forgot them. They were always with me, ever present as I heard stories of people achieving their dreams. There was always a little voice in the back of my mind saying, ‘That’ll be me one day’. I would walk into a bookshop and imagine that one day I’d be right there in that spot and see someone buy a book I had written.

It was never a matter of ‘if’, just a case of ‘when’. One Day.

When I least expected it, One Day arrived. I had gone against all my sensible thoughts, trusted my gut instincts, and left my corporate career after the birth of my baby girl, two years ago now. I was staying at home with her and I was bored. Bored out of my brain. I had to do something.

Write. That word kept coming to me. I knew it was now or never, and I decided to give it a shot. It was time to tell people about the dream I had kept to myself – no one, not even my parents, knew about it – for so many years.

I began with my blog. Then I joined Twitter – more to chat with new friends rather than with any long-term ‘networking’ goals – and found myself making contacts. I started approaching a few of them, and was soon writing for two more websites. Then I sent an article to a print magazine, and had that accepted. It just kept spiralling.

I decided to push my luck, and started thinking about writing books. I was thinking of novels, but whenever I sat down to write my mind would go back to the books from my childhood – to this day, the only books I would list as my favourites. It was that realisation that drew me towards writing for kids.

There have been so many yeses since that first day I began writing. None from publishers – yet! – but a lot of positive feedback and little milestones that make me believe I’m on the right path. A yes from a new friend and now co-author of a yet-to-be-published manuscript included (I imagine it’s easier now than ever before to be brave and do things like ask someone to co-write a book with you. I didn’t have to call her or talk to her in person and face seeing the ‘no way’ written on her face. All I had to do was hit the send button on one email. And be stunned to see the word ‘yes’ come back to me.)

The rejections, though, can threaten to push all those feelings aside. A short email saying ‘great idea, but we won’t be taking that on’ or – worse – a copy of the standard letter sent to all rejected authors, can make me question it all. I wonder if I’m wasting my time, if there will ever be that one big yes I’ve always wanted.

The time constraints too, with a toddler and paying work and other commitments pulling me in all directions, can be enough to make me want to throw in the proverbial towel. It can be hard work doing it all.

Soon, though, something comes along – a lovely comment on my blog or an email or conversation with a friend telling me they enjoyed reading a piece I’ve written – that gets me on track once again.

16 comments:

  1. You're not wasting your time. You're following your dream and soon enough the doors will open wider. Don't give up. Please keep writing!

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  2. Oh Megan I'm there right now. Made the decision last week to transition out of my "paid boring job" and into writing. Have started trying to get some "paid" work. So far no rejections, but no acceptances either. I'm sure it will come - perserverence is the key. I'm so happy for you. xxx

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  3. Jodie at Mummy MayhemNovember 17, 2010

    Great post, Megan. You keep writing. You know that Matthew Reilly couldn't get anyone to publish his books to begin with. I think he published his own first up and then a book shop took it on and..BAM!

    Just keep getting your work out there. I believe in you. xxx

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  4. Megan - I hear ya and I am cheering for you. From someone who has had the same dream which is slowly coming to fruition, please feel free contact me so I can share my journey and give you some tips on how to get those children's books out there :)
    Cyber hugs and huge high 5!
    Leanne
    www.LeanneSheaLangdown.com

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  5. I relate to this completely. When I started blogging, that writing instinct was reignited, and I've been so much happier since. I have started a book. Finally!

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  6. Yay for starting a book! Wishing you all the best with it, Kristy!

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  7. Thanks Leanne - I'll come over for a visit!

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  8. Thanks lovely xx

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  9. Yay, Annie! That's what I'm trying to do as well - get paid to do what I love. It's a slow process, but a few wins really start to get your confidence up. And I love hearing about your book-writing on Twitter too!

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  10. Thanks so much Kristin xx

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  11. life in a pink fibroNovember 17, 2010

    Great post Megan. The wonderful thing about blogging is the immediate response from readers. You know when you've hit a nerve because they tell you. Rejection is part of professional writing. Sometimes it's just about realising that, just as every pair of jeans you try on is not right for you, so your manuscript is not right for everyone. But that doesn't mean you won't find the perfect fit one day. Keep trying! We're all out there trying with you. :-)

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  12. This was perfect. Thanks so much for the guest blogging, it's just what I needed to read today!I recently lost my job and it was a blessing because the timing is right for me to take a path to more creativity. Congrats on finding your path!

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  13. Ooh, good luck with it Anna! I hope it works out perfectly :)

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  14. Thanks Al! Having this contact with other writers has been such an important part of me being able to keep going. Hearing that so many others have the same struggles - and some great wins - is so encouraging.

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  15. Anj (@anjwrites)November 18, 2010

    I've been feeling stuck myself and reading (again) about how you've been chipping away at your dream just gives me hope that, if I buckle down and get a bit organised, I can also make my dreams a daily reality.

    Love this post!!

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  16. I have the same opinion with most of your points, but a few need to be discussed further, I will hold a small conversation with my partners and maybe I will look for you some advice later.

    - Henry

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I am a comment addict. Thank you so much for your words...xx