Sometimes I just sit back and wonder how I would survive without the internet. Before this writing thing, I think I would have been fine. I was never one of those people who freaked out on camping trips because they didn’t have their phone/laptop/gameboy/tamagotchi. If I had a book, I was fine.
But writing is a very lonely process. It is. For a while there I was thinking journalism was a better option for the human interaction. The internets, however, provide a passable substitute. For instance, one of my favourite things to do since starting this novel has been reading through old blog entries of writers before they were published. It’s one of the reasons I started this blog – so maybe one day, some aspiring writer will read it and be encouraged.
When I first started trying to write a novel I read every single blog post Diana Peterfreund ever wrote, which was fantastic as one of her strengths is navigating the writing industry. She was able to teach me a lot, as well as being an eternal encouragement as I read about her journey towards publication. It made me feel that, if you work hard enough, and give enough of yourself, eventually you will be successful. So thanks, Diana. Couldn’t have come this far without you. Or maybe I could, but it would have been much, much harder.
And then yesterday, quite randomly, I came across this post from Carrie Ryan (whose latest book, The Dead Tossed Waves is absolutely amazing – you should go read it). When she wrote this post, Carrie was at the exact stage that I am, now. She was just finishing her final round of revisions before she sent her novel off to betas, and was starting to think about query letters, synopses and the like.
I can’t measure the encouragement I glean from posts like these. Just knowing that other people have gone through the same thing as I am currently – and have made it out the other side – makes the loneliness a little easier to bear. It makes me realise that that the challenges I am currently facing are simply a stage I must go through, like any other writer, in my journey towards publication. It’s like I’m paying my dues.
The other day I was talking to a non-writer friend and just happened to mention how much I am looking forward to receiving my first rejection letter. She thought I was crazy. But, you see, receiving that rejection will be like an acknowledgment that I am, indeed, a writer. I’m on the path. I’m hitting obstacles. I’ve joined the club.
It’s hard being a writer. I’ve invested countless hours over the past 11 months into this project I have no guarantee will ever be published, or even read by someone in the publishing industry. I’m not sure my non-writer friends completely understand, and I don’t know how they could. Because writing is not just my hobby. It’s my calling – and hopefully, one day, my career.
And that’s why blogs such as Diana’s and Carrie’s have become so valuable to me. I look forward to the day that I can send them copies of my book as thanks.
I hope that anyone reading this gains encouragement of their own.