"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce


All material on SHIMMERCASTDREAMS copyright of Marie Bruce and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

WRITER'S DREAM; Start Small

New writer's often ask me how to 'go about it' ...it being the business of becoming a professional writer.  As I have said time and again, there are no short cuts - becoming a writer is generally a long road.  It might be that you have to work hard in another field, say nursing, before you are qualified to write a book about nursing care...the hard slog doesn't just mean sitting at a desk reading rejection slips, though that is usually part of the journey.

There is no quick-fix formula to getting published - if there were someone would have bottled it by now and sold the writer's dream on the open market. Also new writers should be prepared to work for free, say for a school newsletter or a hobby club newsletter.  Even published books that are based on blogs are the product of someone who took time to write their blog for free. Sadly this not what most people want to hear.  They think that;

  •  I was published immediately upon sending something out to an editor - No, it took me five years to get anything in print and even longer to get paid for my work.
  • That I was an immediate success - No, no-one is. 
  • Or that I 'knew people' namely editors and that I was published via nepotism - No, I was a complete outsider to the industry and didn't know a single editor or publisher when I started out.
People see where I am now as a successful columnist, recording artist etc and that is what they want to emulate; they want to slot themselves into publishing at the same level in order to reap the same recognition and rewards.  But let me make it crystal clear... I did not start out by writing for a national magazine and I was invited to write for Spirit&Destiny and Paradise Music only after years of publishing success and hard work...I have a proven track record; I am a known name and one of the top writers in my genre in the UK.  But that is not where I started out as an unpublished writer and I have worked my way up from the very dregs of the slush pile!

It took me almost nine years, from sending off the first piece of work (rejected) to signing a contract and getting paid for my work. Just to put that into some sort of perspective - it only takes three years to train as a nurse and six years of post-grad medical school to train to be a GP doctor!  Yes, I was that dedicated to my goal.   When I started out I began writing humorous poetry once a month for a local pub-guide, which I did for free, for over a year, until the publication folded. There are some who would (and did) sneer at me for it and turn up their noses at this small start....but look where it's brought me!...I recognized it for what it was at the time - a starting point.  I am still proud of myself that I wasn't too proud at the time to write poems for free; poems which were dismissed by those close to me as 'not quite Byron, is it?'  It was never meant to be Byron - I am not into Piggy-Backing and the industry always closes ranks against copy-cats! - it was meant to be Marie Bruce and it was the beginning of my career as a published writer.

So that's how I did it; beginning in my teens and published in my twenties.  You need to swallow your pride, forget the best-seller lists for the moment and start small. Start small, start local and be prepared to write for nowt! If you are not prepared to publish in a small, seemingly insignificant way, and deal with the sneering that brings, then you are chasing the dream for the wrong reasons.

2 comments:

  1. You are absolutely right. Nothing is ever easy and everything worthwhile takes time. Not only time but talent and hard work. You are where you are because you persevered and followed your dream through sneers and jeers and most likely not a lot of support. So good for you for becoming what you set out to be. You deserve your success.

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment. Perhaps one has to ride horses to understand that anything worth doing requires time, effort, patience and a strong sense of humor! Horses have taught me all I know about laughing at myself lol

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