30 OCTOBER 2012
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
Friday evening is customarily a time to relax, a time to put your feet up after a hard week slaving over a hot computer. Typically, it holds out the prospect of something nice to eat and a bottle of wine, followed by a film or a play or some other form of entertainment. But this Friday was different and rather than winding down, I felt distinctly unsettled.
Agent 002 had dumped me, hardly anyone was reading my blog, visits to the new webpage I had set up were few and far between and nobody was responding to my tweets. At one point I felt as if I should breathe onto a mirror and check to see if I was still there. I attempted to console myself with television but there was nothing on (surprise, surprise) and I was forced to resort to an old episode of Law and Order – it was all extremely unsatisfactory.
But by Saturday morning I had begun to see things in a new light. I convinced myself that life couldn’t be all bad and after breakfast I resolved to sit down at the kitchen table and make a list of whatever positives I could wring out of the current situation. I headed it ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’ and for what it’s worth, here it is.
- I can write. I know that now and not everyone can say so with confidence. It’s taken me seven years to get there but by my own definition, I have ‘arrived’.
- BIRDS OF THE NILE is a good book. Perhaps not the best ever written but good enough to be published all the same. Almost every piece of feedback I’ve had says so and I’ve come to believe it. And now that I’ve spent a week revising Chapters 4-16 inc. in line with Agent 002’s request, it’s even better.
- So far, we have only approached half the market. Agent 001 was firm on this point and my research indicates likewise (I spent an hour or so in the week thumbing through the UK Publishers section of The Writer’s Handbook). Agent 002 sees this as the half of a glass half empty whereas I now see it as the half of a glass half full.
- I have developed an active website and Twitter account and I am able and willing to use them to market myself. Anyone who has been on the receiving end of one of my online campaigns will surely vouch for that!
- My second novel, AS DAD LAY DYING, is well under way. I have a complete first draft and I’m 30000 words into a re-write. I’d have even more of it done if I hadn’t broken off to revise BIRDS OF THE NILE.
- My third novel, MALAREN, exists as a full length (1500 word) synopsis and all being well, I intend to start work on fleshing it out next year.
- I have two more novels languishing in my bottom drawer ready for revision at some future stage together with three more in outline – so there’s a steady stream of output to follow over the coming years.
On a more personal basis, my private life is going well. My wife and I are in good health, so are our children (both of whom are in gainful employment) and although these things bear no direct relevance to my writing career, they are of equal importance. All I need is for Spurs to win the Champions League (it’s only a matter of time) and my happiness will be complete.
What more could a potential agent and/or publisher want? In light of these discoveries, I feel bound to respond to Agent 002 and point them out to him in an effort to bring him round. And in doing so and as means of encouragement I ‘ll remind him of the following quote by Mark Twain –
“I only never recognised an opportunity when it ceased to be one.”
Seven ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’ then - let’s hope that they’re enough.