The motto for 2017. Try everything.
This is the year that I will try to find a publisher for Sackcloth on Skin. I’m arriving at this point about a year later than I perhaps expected to, but I think that’s probably a good thing. In some ways not much has happened in the past year – but I’ve been through the book several times and it’s much better for all that editing than it was a year ago. And most importantly, Moniack Mhor happened. I wrote about my week at Scotland’s creative writing centre here. It definitely helped the book, and perhaps more significantly it helped my mindset as a writer. It was the first time I’d shared this book with anyone else, and it was such an encouragement to realise that people seemed to believe it was worth something. It also took away some of my impatience and stress about what should happen next.
But I can’t sit in this waiting room for ever. Three or four years ago I decided it was time to stop dreaming and to actually get on and write this book. Now once more it’s time to stop dreaming and get on and look for a publisher. I may not succeed, but I need to try. And I am under absolutely no illusions about how difficult that will be, and how resilient I will have to be to cope with rejection. I remember how tough it was trying to get War Classics published, and that wasn’t part of me in the way this book is.
When I was speaking about publication at Moniack Mhor with one of the tutors she said ‘try everything’. Not in some scattergun approach – I have a very clear plan of who I want to approach and why – but if one avenue doesn’t work out try another. Don’t give up. So that is my plan for 2017. Try everything.
I have a plan, but unexpected opportunities may come along. On 6 January there was a twitter event held by XpoNorth offering the chance to tweet a pitch for your book. In the spirit of Try everything I had a go. And guess what, it didn’t change the world, it didn’t lead to a publishing deal – but it was fun. I’ve only dabbled in twitter before so even the process of composing my tweet was an absorbing challenge, and reading all the other tweets was unexpectedly addictive. This was mine:
1688 woman in sackcloth, pregnant, betrayed. Grief as Renwick hangs. 2013 roadtrip thru Scotland’s spiritual landscape. Love echoes. #xpob
So 2017 is the year I will try to find a publisher, and the voice in my head repeats Try everything. Deep breath … bring it on!
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I can’t remember who it was but some eminent author once said ‘Writing is mostly editing’. But it has to end sometime. All the best in getting the right publisher.