It’s typical winter weather here in the UK… discouragingly cold and wet… so making the excuse to sit down to read the Writers and Artists book was not difficult. I haven’t finished reading, it will be a while yet, but so far I have to report back that it has been a very levelling read. He hasn’t exactly said it in so many words, but Harry Bingham, the author, spares no punches and keeps reiterating that the odds are truly stacked against me becoming a published writer. The statistics he quotes are evidence enough it seems. Apparently a typical literary agent will receive between 400 – 2000 submissions a year, of which he/she is only possible going to offer representation to one, maybe two. Some don’t offer any at all. How cruel… how miserable an outlook is that?
In the beginning the book made friends with me by emphasising what it is like to finish writing a book… and he’s right. In the first instance there is a huge sense of relief, followed closely be joy and pride. The excitement, just as he says, is difficult to describe. And, no surprises, just as he comments, I, like so many before me, can confess to indulging in fantasy; imagining what recognition and success feels like. It really is a big part of the pleasure. My imagination has gone wild thinking about what I might say in radio interviews and what it would feel like to see my book displayed in a book store. The best image I conjure up, when I feel really proud of myself having proved everyone who thought I couldn’t manage to be wrong, is me in the role of ambassador; standing in a school hall full of children, telling them not to listen to anyone who tells them they can’t do something if they have a passion to try. And you’re right. If you have read my previous post I have followed quite a few of the ‘must do’s’ of cosmic ordering. But as already discussed, this system of trying to get what you want unfortunately doesn’t come with any guarantees… shame…………………. So back to the Writers and Artist book for more practical guidance. I’ve turned a fair few of the pages in this book now and I am becoming very well aware that the energy of his words is changing. In the beginning they were jovial and light-hearted, but now they are taking on a more serious tone. Words like ‘slush pile’ and ‘rejection’ are far too frequently used for my liking to be encouraging. Similarly, where I am up to presently, he has just posed me with three questions: “Is the book really finished, is it a quality product and has it been impeccably written so that it can achieve success?” And this is where, being dyslexic, doubts creep in. I know my work is not word-perfect. You may even unconsciously be nodding in agreement, having gone ‘ouch’ or ‘oo eer’ as you have read over my posts. My anxiety is… how can I, the dyslexic, fairly compete with the majority of writers who function and marry nicely with the accepted mainstream cognitive function?
“Don’t lose heart”, Harry Bingham writes. At least he was kind enough to throw me a life line.