Sometimes, perseverance pays off

Routine desk style

Ah, home working

Just over a year ago, I got over my fear of instability and insecurity enough to give up my full time job and embark on a career as a freelancer. For me, it’s definitely been the right choice, partly because it’s reinforced my determination to keep telling stories. It’s not easy to justify not writing when you’ve put a lot at stake to do it!

I’ve also been working very, very hard on not giving up when it comes to putting pen to paper. That’s not just in the last year, that one’s been taking a lot longer, but it’s finally been starting to pay off. I submitted no less than eight stories to the great Gutter, one after another, before I handed in one they liked enough to print this summer. Obviously, it would have felt good to have an immediate acceptance, but I think it was even better to have to try and try again. It certainly felt pretty sweet when I got the email.

SBTThe same feeling is hitting me this month, when I found out I’d been successful in securing a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust. This is not the first year I’ve applied, it’s not even the second, and yes, I was a little bit crushed every time I didn’t make it, but if I hadn’t been willing to keep trying, well, I wouldn’t have got it this year.

Perseverance definitely pays off, but I do also think you have to be gentle with yourself. This year, I’ve mainly been working on a novel and I decided that while I was, I’d cut back on the number of short story submissions I was sending out. Why? Because I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle the inevitable flood of rejections while I was trying to work on something bigger. I was worried they’d make me lose faith when I needed to work in a bubble. It’s been good for me but it’s temporary. I always knew you had to keep slamming those keys no matter what, but now I’m completely convinced that if you keep trying hard enough, things will work out one way or another when it comes to words.