Recently, on the Macmillan New Writers’ collective blog, David Isaak asked ‘How does it feel’? How does it feel, x amount of time on from your baby’s release into the world, to be a published writer?
My response at the time was:
‘I think being published has changed the way other people see what I do rather more than the way I see it. I've always taken my writing very seriously but other people would look at my days spent writing while I worked part time at the money-generating job and think 'Isn't this a bit sad? Doesn't she realise that publication is monumentally unlikely?' Now they just ask, meekly, where they can get a copy of my book and when the next one's coming out. Prior to MNW saying they'd like to publish Testament, I always said I wouldn't stop trying to be published until I stopped developing as a writer. That hasn't changed either!’
But, in the weeks since I posted that reply, I’ve realised that there is something more fundamental that being published has done for my writing – it’s given me more confidence in what I do, in my own abilities and, possibly, my own potential.
Had I not had Testament published, I wonder whether I would have persevered with the work in progress. It’s not proving an easy book to write and, without the confidence of having been accepted into the MNW fold, without Testament going into paperback, I wonder whether I would have had the confidence to weather the difficulties which writing the current novel has thrown up and simply persevere.
Interestingly, it’s not just having had Testament published which has made the difference but one of the consequences of that publication – being a blogger and a reader of blogs. Without the posts of other writers which make it clear that not only is writing a first draft monumentally hard, it is also likely to yield only a ‘shitty first draft’ which must then be crafted via second and third drafts into something presentable, I might well have thought that I was alone in my frustrations.
So, another benefit of being published – it makes you believe in yourself, in your writing, despite struggles.
I just hope it’s not a misplaced belief.