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Never Give Up On Your Dreams

August 27th, 2015

Sphinx-cover-shot.blogWriters are a lonely breed and when you are down on your luck it can seem the whole world is against you. But it’s amazing how at the very moment life looks at its bleakest –  you’ve had your favourite story rejected for the 18th time or an editor has been unimpressed with your article ideas –  something unexpectedly wonderful happens that has you dancing round the sofa.

That happened to me recently during a wet, miserable Summer Sunday afternoon. I was sitting watching the torrential rain bouncing off the ground, wondering if I could take the new barbecue back to the store for a refund. Feeling sorry for myself, I switched on the computer to check my email, expecting nothing beyond the usual notices urging me to switch my gas supplier, help mysterious international bankers shift ill-gotten money out of dictatorships, and find true romance with Author Harmony Dating.

But what I saw took me completely by surprise. There was an email from Seattle-based arts publication Section8Magazine telling me that the humorous sci-fi story Virgin Territory I’d submitted to them months ago had been accepted and was currently on their website (It’s at http://www.section8magazine.com/virgin-territory/  if you want to check it out).

I was still grinning at that when another email pinged in. Would I like to judge a flash fiction competition this September? Would I just!

Two hits in an hour. Wow.

But it didn’t end there. After a week when sales of my two humour e-books Fiddle of the Sphinx and Other Quintessentially Quirky Tales and An Ugly Way To Go and Other Quintessentially Quirky Tales were in the doldrums, both story collections suddenly smashed their way into not one but two different Amazon charts.

Of course, I got straight on to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and every other social media outlet I could think of to announce my plethora of good news. I don’t remember, but I might even have gone on to the roof with a megaphone.

And that’s where another bonus piece of luck came my way. The Tweet caught the eye of someone with more followers than a large town and she not only retweeted it but started following me. That’s more potential readers than I could reach with my loudhailer – even if I shouted!

Now I know what you’re thinking – why are you telling us this? Aren’t you boasting, Big Head? Of course not – well, maybe just a little. But the real reason I’m sharing this is to hammer home the message that as a writer you can just never tell when that next boost or big break is going to happen. It might be next week. It might even be tomorrow.

So you can never, never, NEVER let yourself grow disheartened. Writing isn’t meant to be easy or predictable. It’s an infuriating mix of elation and despondency, triumph and near misses. That’s what makes it such fun.

So, even if it seems the Gods of publishing are against you, don’t let your enthusiasm and determination dip.

Tell yourself you’re going to make your own luck. Be focused. Fire off more article pitches, enter more short story competitions (and what better way to start that than by entering the Writers Bureau Competition?), work on your novel or poetry. Hone, polish and edit. Spend time studying your market and what seems to be working for other writers.

Most of all, be confident! Take risks. Network. And believe in yourself. Who knows – it might be you telling us next week about a very amazing wet Sunday afternoon!

Iain Pattison is an author, humorist and the judge of the 2015 Writers Bureau Short Story Competition. To learn more about  Iain Pattison and his work visit www.iainpattison.com  or follow him on Twitter @AuthorIain.




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