Today is my children’s first day back at school today. Just like that they’re gone. The last eight weeks, a smudge on the back door.
I started our summer with hope. Earlier this year, I sent samples of my second book to my agent and she in turn is sending it on to publishers. They call this the submission stage. “My book is on submission,” we might say - except writers only ever say this to each other, and very rarely to anyone else outside of the publishing world. Why? Because for some reason we’re supposed to stay hush. Never talk about the process until the deal is done. But in doing so, we don’t talk about what it feels like to fail and like this piece says, failure is the norm for writers. Yet we hide it. We hide the rejection and only announce our books when the deal is done as if by magic, as if there haven’t been tears spilled behind the scenes.
I wish to be open about the process though, because it is at the very least interesting to know how it all works as well as to know how it feels. How we are to have more inclusivity in publishing, if we aren’t more transparent about the very process itself? So right now, my book is on submission. I have not failed but I am still waiting. It’s a long, long wait, one that is anxiety-ridden but I am also hopeful and excited. It may all come to nothing but equally it very well may. One way you can help is by continuing to share my work, my social media feeds and if you’ve happened to read my book, In Spite of Oceans, I would be incredibly grateful if you might consider leaving a review. And meanwhile, I will wait for hopefully good news to come down the phone. At this moment, there is simply no way of knowing which editor might read my book, who might fall in love with it in its very raw form. But here I am sharing. So if I’ve been quieter than usual over the summer, now you know why. It is because I am writing. I am writing. I am waiting for news.
And so as this new season begins, I’m prioritising writing more than anything. For the first time in what feels like years, I’ve taken steps to finally organise childcare during the week so I can write on various pieces I have in the pipeline properly, not just on stolen snatches of time which, if I’m honest, has been utterly exhausting.
I’m excited about what this extra time may mean and I’m delighted to make my comeback into journalism with a few pieces over the summer, including my piece in The Guardian today about motherhood memoirs. I’m equally thrilled to have a short story of mine selected from over 100 submissions for publication in Let Me Know When You’re Home, an anthology of women writers writing on friendship brought together by Dear Damsels. You can help bring the publication into print here.
I’m hoping that some of you will be prioritising writing too. The Quiet Words, my online writing course on the craft of writing creatively, begins in little under a month on September 30th. And here’s my other hope - that some of you will join me, that you’ll discover the value in taking a step out of the noise of everyday life to reconnect with a certain stillness that might give you the focus to write. That you might listen to the voice inside of you that beckons you to put your thoughts into words, to begin to figure things out. The Quiet Words is waiting, right here.