I can't believe it's been six years since I've blogged about my writing. I've been writing in the time. I wrote another novel called 'The Year of the O' a sci-fi or cli-fi novel, which also happened to be my PhD project. I ended up travelling to New York in 2016 (I think) as part of a 'Pitch Conference' and presented it a series of editors and literary agents.
I was very lucky that an editor from Penguin, Mike Braff, was interested and I sent him the first 50 pages. Another editor from MacMillan also asked to read the the manuscript. Both were no's to publish the novel. The main character lacked emotions, the writing was too dry and too many intellectual aerobics due to the PhD. I kept writing and refining this novel and then PhD until I lost the story I wanted to tell.
In May 2017, I ended up receiving a book contract to co-write a young adult mystery murder with a best selling author. I ended up dropping from full-time work to part-time (4 days a week) to give myself more time to write. I threw myself into this, convinced I'd found my pathway to publication. Two years later, a little poorer and super single, I had completed two full drafts (about 180,000 words) but no publishing deal or book.
There's been some highs and lows in the journey of writing, but writing has taught me courage in adversity, dedication to your dreams but mostly to detach to the outcome of writing. Not to get lost in the fantasy of what my life could look like or be if it was a full-time career but to enjoy the moments I put aside to write and that no sacrifice is needed. Writing doesn't ask for you to give up your love life, children, time with family or friends. Writing will find you at 5.30am or late at night or on a Sunday afternoon. I've learnt to write only because I love it and only to write when my heart is full and the muse is in the room.
Ten years of writing and no real external success to show doesn't mean anything. I'm no longer judging myself by external factors. I'm proud that I am still writing despite rejection and failure, that I haven't given up because it's harder than I ever dreamed. So anyone who is reading this who has a creative spirit and dream, keep at it not because you want to finally want to succeed but because the success is in the doing.
Penelope Jane Jones.