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Want to be a writer? If it’s not happening for you – shift sideways!

February 14th, 2014

When I submitted my first piece, I told my husband I would feel sick if they published and sick if they didn’t. In fact my nerves and self-doubt had stopped me even trying until my Writer’s Bureau Tutor offered just the right amount of encouragement and support for me to finally have a go. And I’m so pleased he did as I haven’t looked back.

Since I started with the Writers Bureau I’ve had over forty remunerated articles published including general interest features, restaurant reviews and interviews and I’m busy working on a series of children’s books, a biography and some short stories.

I really thought the creative ship had sailed for me as my childhood dream of being an Artist had not come to fruition, but it seems that I was just pursuing the wrong form of art. This puts me in mind of a Chiropractic friend of mine who tried desperately to become a Doctor for many a year but everything seemed to be conspiring against him. Then he stumbled, by chance, on Chiropractics and doors started to open for him almost magically. He qualified with flying colours and now runs a hugely successful business. He still gets to work with people, helping them to improve their health and using his vast knowledge of anatomy; just in a different to way to the one he had envisaged.

The moral of the story is ‘if it’s not happening for you, shift slightly sideways’. If you love to write but just can’t get published maybe you just haven’t found your genre. There are so many options – don’t give up, not if writing is truly what you want to do.

There are lots of things I love about writing (I could probably fill a sizable book) but one that fills me with awe, is it crosses so many boundaries. When I submitted my first piece for publication, the Editor had not yet met me. He had no idea of my background, my education, the colour of my skin or hair or eyes for that matter. He didn’t know how tall I was or if I was self-conscious about chubby ankles or wrinkly knees or anything else. None of my personal attributes mattered he just said he ‘liked my style’. There are no barriers in creative writing – you can express yourself even if you are unable to talk.

Writing also traverses the boundaries of time with the likes of Shakespeare and D H Lawrence being as popular today as they ever were. Though such literary talents may no longer be here in body, their mind and spirit lives on in their writing. What an amazing accolade and legacy. If a tiny portion of me lives on in my writing, I would be thrilled.

When you hit a down time just remember – even Hemingway suffered writers block; you owe it to yourself and who knows who else, to keep going.

Happy Writing!

Juanita

Juanita Shield-Laignel is a runner up in this year’s Student of the Year competition.

 

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