Writing Disability

Rabbit - lookIt would seem that when they were handing out self-esteem, I got a dud-dose.  Either that or I’ve got a gland somewhere that’s not working the way it should.  Or I’m just that sort of person.  Anyway, never one to give up, I’ve embraced the fact and had to work on ways to manage such an affliction.

So, I might be talking it up a little, but writing and publishing and the whole shebang is a tough business.  They say you need a dose of talent, a liberal serve of extra-hard-work, and a lot of luck to break into it.  I think you also need to be able to believe in yourself more than anyone else ever will, and to learn how to enjoy the journey rather than the destination.  This has been the hardest thing for me, as for a while there I was completely focussed on where I wanted to be, and not enjoying the things I was achieving along the way.  I can become so goal focussed that as soon as I achieve one thing, I move on to the next goal without enjoying the moment long enough.  A magazine accepts a story, so will they ever accept another of mine?  Finished that first draft, but the story itself is a long way from polished.  This writing disability of mine means I’ve had to learn to consciously pull myself up – or practise what I like to call smack-myself-in-the-head psychology.  Remind myself to sit back and enjoy the journey.  Look out the window.  Smell the flowers and all that jazz.

My writer’s group is brilliant at celebrating every step, from finishing a first draft and receiving a positive rejection letter, to magazine acceptances and book deals.  So, today I’m celebrating all things, great and small.  I’ve nearly finished the first draft of a new novel, the first adventure novel I’ve ever written (and in a quirky voice that I have so enjoyed).  What about you?  I know all of you have something worth celebrating – I’ll provide the champagne if you provide the story.


6 Responses to “Writing Disability”

  1. 1 Sheryl Gwyther January 15, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Kath, I know exactly what you’re talking about! The writing business is tough and unless you live with a writer most people outside this business don’t know just how tough it is with a record number of people wanting to write (and that’s an excellent thing in this country of sports-mad people); and the economic pressures on publishers.
    But doesn’t it drive you nuts when when someone says ‘Hasn’t your second novel been published yet?’ And you say (like you have to justify the fact), ‘No, but I’ve been writing non-stop since the first one, and I’ve finished two more children’s novels, once of which a British agent loves and I’ve written 5 more short stories and I’ve got three more full length novels on the go and….’ You don’t stop even though their eyes have begun to glaze over – that’s their punishment for asking in the first place!
    But I shouldn’t be so cruel, I guess my O.W.(Outside Writing) friends are interested in my writing life.
    Writers keep going because we love what we do to bits; and there’s nothing else that compares to a story pouring out of your head like a video playing behind the eyes, and characters that get hold of your inner being and who continue to surprise you.
    That’s the writing life.

  2. 2 Katherine Battersby January 15, 2009 at 11:39 am

    I agree Sheryl. It certainly is hard having non-writing friends who feel that if you haven’t had anything published recently, that it means you must not have written anything new. Because surely if you had written something it would be published immediately :) It is a hard industry to explain to others, and to be able to keep writing day-to-day without external encouragement or recognition takes a lot of guts and determination. That’s why we need to have a deep love for writing and story telling to drive us on.

    But you do have things to celebrate – like some positive feedback on your current WIP, and a new industry contact for another novel!

  3. 3 Julie Nickerson January 16, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Champagne? Celebrating? Yay! I’m all for celebrating the positives associated with writing, the biggest of all being that I have finally found something that I LOVE doing; that makes me stay up late at night despite my drooping eyeballs and bed and pyjamas beckoning; that makes me WANT to work rather than sit around watching TV; that allows me to express myself, discover myself and accept myself; that has opened up a whole new interest that has brought with it a new, wonderful set of friends and ‘workmates’. Now, that’s worth a sip or two of champers in my opinion :-)

  4. 4 Katherine Battersby January 16, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Jules – I think that’s worth a bottle. Couldn’t have put it better myself :)

  5. 5 Madeline Stephenson February 4, 2009 at 4:33 am

    I have to admit that my self-esteem in writing is severely lacking. But fortunately, my husband and my full-time job are both very supportive. I have also found a couple writing groups/organizations which I am using to help push me along. I like this post. As much as I love you and want you to succeed, it is nice to know other writers have the same type of problems I have! Keep it up! I am proud of you!


  6. 6 Katherine Battersby February 4, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Mady, am glad to hear you have supportive people around you. And it is strangely reassuring to hear other people go through the same self-doubt, isn’t it? I have a few articles written by authors I admire, talking about their self-doubt, which I read when I’m feeling down. It helps to think even successful authors go through the same thing!

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About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

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