When I began taking my writing seriously about thirty years ago, I remember someone telling me that persistence mattered more than talent.

It wasn’t long before I discovered that this was absolutely true. I would also add self belief and growing a thicker skin to the list. On many occasions, people made disparaging remarks about pieces of work. If I’d listened to them, I wouldn’t have submitted them. However, because I felt strongly about that poem or story I ignored them. In every case, those pieces of work got published or won a prize.

About twenty years ago, I was regularly published as a short story writer by one of the UK women’s magazines. Then that editor left. The new editor clearly didn’t like my style because everything I sent her over a ten year period was rejected. Then she, too, moved on. When editor number three took over, I polished off all the rejections and sent them to her one by one. She accepted seventy-five percent of them for publication. I could have shoved those stories in a folder and never let them see the light of day again – but I’m incredibly stubborn and I felt they deserved another try.

Keep as many pieces of work as you can in circulation. I aim for a minimum of 25. It stops me worrying about each individual piece and it’s a bit like planting seeds in the earth. Sometimes nothing happens, but many times you are rewarded by beautiful flowers. (Keep a record of where you’ve sent work!) Good luck and keep going.

Spread the love