I’ve been struggling with writing again in the last few weeks. I may have been positive and upbeat in my last post, but once the rejections start rolling in and you read articles about how celebrity authors are shutting children’s authors out of their own trade you can very quickly feel like writing to get published is pointless.
In fact, I’ve even decided that it’s not over-dramatic to compare the writing journey to the journey to Mordor in Lord of the Rings! Obviously the physical danger is nothing like the same, but there are continual battles, times of aching exhaustion and black despair, seemingly impossible obstacles to cross and a sense of everything being against you.
That’s why – for both Frodo and for me – the journey is easier and success is more likely, if you have a group helping and supporting you along the way.
I am SO grateful to be travelling Lord of the Rings-styley with other writing buddies, especially those from my North-West SCBWI group! In the best possible way, they are my Sam, Pippin, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli.
We probably are as much of a rag-tag bunch as this lot (no offence!), who never would have come together under any other circumstances, but the friendship, encouragement and support these guys have given me when I’ve been down and felt like giving up has genuinely kept me going through several tough times already.
They praise my work when it’s good and help me to improve it when it’s not. They understand the struggles and the lows. We celebrate each other’s successes (not as big as we’d all like yet). When discouragements and obstacles come, they encourage me and challenge me not to give up. They’ll get me to the end no matter what! They might not have to physically pick me up and carry me, but metaphorically it comes close.
They’re also huge fun and we have a great laugh together (something that was a bit absent for Frodo and friends unfortunately!). The realisation that if I give up writing (very tempting recently) then I can’t legitimately go along to their monthly meetings and see them is more than enough to keep me forcing at least 2,000 words onto the page every month!
And then, as well as them, sometimes a Gandalf-like character swoops in to help too, today aka JK Rowling! Unusually I was on Twitter at breakfast-time and found her sharing profound inspiring wisdom surprisingly early in the morning:
If you need to go on a difficult journey, especially one to reach an important goal, then get a group around you (however you do that) to keep you going and to make the journey as enjoyable as possible.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb