Ten Reasons Not to Whinge!
Last week I wrote a really whingey post complaining about Amazon. But I’ve given myself a talking to, dusted myself down, and today I want to redress the balance. I thought of calling this post ‘Ten Reasons to be Happy’, but that sounds too positive and upbeat for me(!), so I’ve settled for:
Ten Reasons Not to Whinge!
1. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child. As some of you know, I hoarded notebooks (in those days loving the blank page that seems so daunting now) and scribbled stories – a few of which I’ve still got. And I’ve achieved that childhood dream. I’ve got two novels out there, my stories have been published/successful in competitions, and I’m enjoying exploring the new form of flash fiction. I AM A WRITER.
2. I had the opportunity to do an MA in creative writing. I gained a place on the course at Bath Spa University and found it one of the most interesting and inspiring times in my life. I enjoyed having Tessa Hadley as my manuscript tutor, and Mimi Thebo as my personal tutor, meeting all the other tutors, and some lovely, talented students. The MA changed my attitude to writing.
3. I’ve had a great writing year. Amongst other highlights, my short story ‘Turnip Soup’ was in the final ten in the Rubery Short Story Prize and was published in the anthology ‘By the Light of the Moon’; my flash fiction ‘Dexter’s Lover’ was in the final ten for the Fish Flash Fiction competition and again published in their anthology – wonderful launch in Bantry, Co. Cork; and to top it all, my second novel ‘The Piano Player’s Son’ was published by Cinnamon Press with a wonderful launch in October!!
4. I’ve met some lovely people through writing, some of whom have become good friends. I value not only their friendship, but the opportunities for shared creativity, writing goals, dilemmas, demons, successes. Last year I got a place on the Writing West Midlands Room 204 Writer development scheme. I loved this with the support, opportunities and friendships it brought, as well as the chance to visit the Custard Factory in Birmingham!
5. I enjoy teaching creative writing. Not only have I met some talented writers and interesting people, I’ve learnt so much about writing through teaching it. I’m sure my writing has been enriched by it.
6. The decision to self-publish in 2010 was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I could never have dreamt ‘Unravelling’ would be so successful. However, I wish the community of self-published writers that exists now in organisations such as the Alliance of Independent Authors had been around then, as it felt a very lonely place to be at the time. Oops, nearly drifted into whinge territorythere!
7. I’ve had some exciting new challenges in recent years, amongst them: being commissioned to write a short story, being writer in residence with English Symphony Orchestra, judging the Worcestershire Literary Festival flash fiction competition.
8. I’m writing a new novel that has caused me heartache and headache this year, but which I’m once again excited about.
9. I’ve had lots of opportunities to visit reading groups and give talks about my books and the ups and downs of being a writer. I find these uplifting and motivating. It’s so lovely to be able to chat to readers and others interested in the writing process.
10. I’ve got fantastic support from my husband, family and friends, and I appreciate every bit of it. I might not always show it clearly enough, but I know how lucky I am.
And now I’ve got started, I could go on for another ten reasons – don’t worry, I’m not going to! I don’t know why I moaned last week. Who cares about Amazon anyway? – although I’m thrilled with all the lovely reviews I’ve had! There are SO MANY reasons not to whinge.