All change

At the start of the summer, I thought I knew where my writing life was going. I was certain in fact: I had discovered Mslexia’s brilliant guide to Indie Presses, and I had resolved to find a home for my writing through one of those.

And then…

I picked up the Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook Guide to Getting Published, and my resolve weakened. The approach it advocated was much more traditional. It didn’t reject independent publishers entirely, but it cautioned against them as a way of launching a career.

My personal jury is still out on the pros and cons of the various routes into getting my words in print, but I was forced to acknowledge that there was a third book, waiting on my hard-drive in its unpolished state, that might still hold the key to the prized arrival on the literary scene that resided in the enclave of the bigwigs in the publishing world.

So I read it.

And I really enjoyed what I read.


From what I could see at first glance, there were none of the obvious roadblocks that my first two novels contained within their pages: the question over cultural integrity in my young adult novel exploring my experiences as a teacher; the doubts over a generic home for my slightly obscure hybrid between psychoactive thriller and mental-health steeped realism. In fact this third novel reflects much more of where I’m at now, of my life by the sea with its echoes of the city. The characters are ones which resonate with my own experience rather than one I’ve observed, and though the path they choose is unconventional it is not unbelievable.

So I decided to give it a chance.

Having read through my words in print – a much more satisfying print, incidentally, having tried to approximate an actual novel in the way I presented the words on the page rather than just the standard sheets of A4 – I returned to Scrivener to tweak the narrative to one that rang true.

And then today I sent it to my agent.

Who knows whether her optimism will match mine, but right now I’m feeling pretty positive about our prospects.

This change of heart has been made all the more possible by a change in my circumstances that I’m just starting to get my head around. Leigh has finished his medical school training, and launched into his career as a junior doctor. This might have spelled the end of any time to myself, but we decided as a family that the next phase of his training would be better carried out part time.

So suddenly I have two whole days a week when he is taking the lead in parenting. Two whole days a week where I can focus on my council and freelance work, and on my writing.

It’s amazing how much you can get done when you don’t have a three year old to entertain at the same time.

Now, having submitted that first draft, I am looking forwards. I haven’t yet written a synopsis of novel number three, so that is top of the list. And then there’s a short story competition which perfectly resonates with my love of outdoor swimming, and a children’s novel competition that I am going to bite the bullet and submit my first manuscript to.

I’m feeling pretty positive about it all, despite the fact that my agenda has undergone such a major u-turn. It’s a writer’s prerogative, right? To follow the thing that feels true?

It’s hard to know for now how that might change again in the future, but finally I have the time to really work out the best way forward for me – and for my writing.


Writing Bubble

9 thoughts on “All change

  1. Rachael

    ” It’s a writer’s prerogative, right? To follow the thing that feels true?” – I think it’s a human thing! We don’t follow out intuition often enough… If it feels right, then do it! Good luck with your agent. 🙂

  2. Carie

    Totally a writer’s prerogative and it sounds like a very natural evolution in your plans. Good luck with all your projects and enjoy all that lovely time – I’ll admit I’m a little envious!

  3. Reneé Davis Author

    Best of luck lovely, really hope she likes it! I’m so pleased that you feel happy with this novel, and having now written three books, I bet you’re on the right track. Can’t wait to hear more xx

  4. Nicola Young

    Absolutely agree, when you write something, it’s like being in a no-man’s land in terms of where to go next with it. I understand the going back and forth with your decisions. It’s a toughy.

  5. maddy@writingbubble

    I’m sure following your gut is the right decision. It’s not like following one path cuts off all others forever more. And the extra time you now have sounds brilliant! Not to mention having a whole other book that could open other doors – so exciting! Lovely to catch up with where you are after the summer, thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting xx

  6. Jude

    Good for you, giving the novel a chance. It’s so confusing knowing which route to take but if you have an agent, that’s a great port of call! Hope you hear back soon, and in the meantime, sounds like you’ve plenty to keep you busy. #whatimwriting

  7. Marija Smits

    In my publishing workshops I pretty much always say to writers that it’s worth considering all 3 routes to publication (traditional: big press, traditional: indie press, and self-publishing). As you have an agent then it’s definitely worth exploring the big press option first. They can get you a foot in the door with the big presses and (hopefully) get you published in a ‘bigger’ fashion than is possible with the other two options. Anyway, all the best, and I’ll look forward to hearing more about how it goes for you. 😀

  8. Alice @ The Filling Glass

    Those two days sound just what you need for all that’s happening with your writing (and knowing what three year olds are like!). Glad you have been able to do this as a family because I know how tough the junior doctor role is and I’ve seen how hard it is for them to get the family life balance, EU working time directive or not. Good luck with your manuscript. xx

  9. Pingback: The waiting game | Sophie is…

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