Friday, 4 March 2016

GUEST POST: Elle Turner on writing and perseverance

This week, Elle Turner, author of short story collection Tapestry, joins us with a guest post about patience and rejection in the life of a writer...

When I was eight years old I started to write my first book. I didn’t get any further than chapter headings, but I knew then that it was something I wanted to do. In my teens I set myself age related goals – I’ll write a book by the time I’m 21! or I’ll write a book by the time I’m 30! Both these milestones passed without me having written a book. I turned my attention to doing something “more sensible”, assuming that I just wasn’t the sort of person who could produce a book. It wasn’t until my children were born that I allowed the possibility to enter my head again and, instead of plucking age related goals from thin air, I decided it would be better to work at writing in the same way as any other job by learning, practicing and working hard. To help me with this I simultaneously joined the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers’ Scheme and took a short story course by distance learning with the London School of Journalism, two things that gave me the focus I needed to start me down this route.

Since then I’ve written four books. I would love to find an agent and/or traditional publisher interested in them, so that’s one of the things I’m working on at the moment (please keep your fingers crossed for me!). I’ve also written Tapestry, a collection of twelve short stories, which I self-published in September. Over my writing years I’ve learned a lot about patience, rejection and perseverance, so when Elle kindly allowed me a spot on Chick Lit Uncovered for a guest post, we thought that was one subject (or three subjects) it might be useful to talk about.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t find it easy to be patient. There’s no two ways about it, though, if you want to submit your writing for consideration by an agent or publisher, patient is something I’ve found you just have to be. I mean, no one is sitting about waiting for me to land in their lap, are they? As someone who’ll buy hair extensions rather than wait for their hair to grow, or who’ll walk between stops rather than stand ten minutes waiting for a bus, I would class this need for patience as NOT FUN, but it’s part of the process. I've found the best way to deal with it for me is to have several different projects on the go at once so I never feel like I’m “waiting” for something to happen.

The variety helps with rejection too, another inevitable part of the writing for publication process.  No one is sitting around waiting for me, but equally I know no one’s out to get at me either and rejection isn’t personal. I try not to get upset, although it’s definitely easy to feel discouraged, which I do from time to time. I try, though, to look upon rejection as something to be expected and see what I can learn from it. If I have several things on the go, I always have something else I can turn to while I’m rethinking whatever’s been rejected. I think the frustrating part is not always knowing exactly why something’s been rejected, because there can be so many variables. It really helps, therefore, to have a source of feedback to help gauge writing ability. For me primarily this is the RNA NWS although, more recently, it’s helped to have feedback about Tapestry too. I’ve been so chuffed with the reviews so far. They are something to (patiently) hold on to whilst being rejected, I guess…

If you’ve got the patience and can cope with the rejection, chances are you’ll be happy to persevere! This is probably my only natural ‘win’. I like to think I’m determined (shush now to whoever said stubborn) and, although I do feel discouraged sometimes, I believe the best things that happen in life are hard won. So actually having to work hard and persevere are GOOD THINGS…

That’s the way I try to look at it, anyway, but I’d love to know what others think!

Tapestry 

In hope, in pain,
we lose, we gain,
but always and forever
the human heart braves life
in light and in shade

A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love. Tapestry - Available now from Amazon.

Elle dedicated Tapestry to her mum so, to celebrate Mother’s Day weekend in the UK, Tapestry is free from 4-6 March 2016.

Elle Turner writes contemporary women’s fiction and lives in beautiful Scotland with her husband and two children. She loves scones, Coronation Street, all songs by Sara Bareilles and will happily admit to having little or no sense of direction. If you offer her a 50:50 she will ALWAYS get it wrong and, despite living in Scotland, she rarely manages to wear shoes that don’t leak.
  
If you would like to find out more about Elle or her writing, she’d love to see you at www.elleturnerwriter.com on Twitter @ElleTWriter, Instagram elletwriter or she’s on Facebook as elleturnerwriter.


2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much, Elle, for having me as a guest on Chick Lit Uncovered! :-) xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post, Elle - I agree that perserverance is the key - it's a hard industry, and rejection is doubly hard because writing is such a personal pursuit. Sounds like you're doing brilliantly, though. I look forward to looking for your books.

    ReplyDelete

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