Starting Out as a Writer by Sue Fortin

No-one ever succeeded by giving up. I don’t know the origin of the quote but it has stood the test of time and is certainly one that can be applied to writing.

I was lucky to be on the New Writers’ Scheme, run by the Romantic Novelists’ Association, which meant I was given a critique of my manuscript. The first manuscript I sent in needed a lot of work. So I spent the next year reworking and rewriting nearly the whole thing. It paid off as the following year when I submitted it, I received positive feedback and a recommendation that it be sent out to agents and publishers. Ultimately, after a further year and a stint at self-publishing, my debut novel was taken on by my publishers, HarperImpulse. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to have four more books published by them with a further two out next year.

All this has taken about six years and there have been times when I’ve wondered if it is worth it and just haven’t felt the love for writing. Fortunately, these times have been fleeting as well as few and far between. I have found the support and solidarity from other writers a great help, both with the peaks and the troughs. I also have fantastic support at home from my family, which I have no doubt has helped maintain the going forwards momentum. It’s not always easy to find the time, but if someone truly wants to write, then they do somehow manage to squeeze writing time in, even if it’s a few minutes here and there in a lunch break. At the end of the day it comes down to determination and that not giving up mentality.

To anyone who is looking to get published, I would say, always professional, take critique and rejection with grace and take success, however small, with joy. The other piece of advice, not to give up. You can’t be successful if you stop trying.