Living in West Cork, I meet a plethora of interesting folk and the latest to join the village is a rather interesting young woman who writes the What A Whey to Go blog. A kindred spirit in terms of being willing to take big risks for a passion, desire or gut instinct (whatever you want to call it), I am both excited and intrigued by her presence and her current journey.
We’ve only spoken a handful of times and have literally just exchanged numbers for a future coffee date, but after reading the blog of this ‘London corporate escapee turned apprentice cheese maker’, (love it!) I’m surprised to learn there are many similarities between us.
From her decision to leave her well paid job in London publishing (mine was a well paid Dublin job in online poker) to follow her cheese-making dream (mine, of course, is to be a published author) to the sudden move to the same village, it seems a truly fortuitous coincidence that our paths have connected. We’ve made similar decisions, completely unawares, and ended up here.
Inspired by Pauline’s blog, I decided it was about time I dared to take a look back at my own journey. It’s almost three years since I made that dizzying decision to take the leap, so has it turned out to be what I hoped? Have I accomplished what I set out to do? Here’s the truth…
I have not secured a publishing deal (yet). There I said it. In my first year here, I completed a book, received excellent feedback from publishers with plenty of interest, but no deal. It was a hard truth to swallow at the time.
Now I can see the benefits. That may seem like a ‘yeah right, she’s just saying that to save face’ kind of thing to say, but it’s true. Of course, a book deal would have been amazing – and I still have complete faith in that book – but along the way I learned a hell of a lot about myself as a writer, the world of publishing, my writing habits and my stamina.
Thankfully, part of that learning curve involved a deletion of the arrogance that initially fuelled me, and I also figured out pretty quickly that weeping into my porridge wasn’t going to get me anywhere.
So I went away and wrote another book, a couple more 50-60K first drafts, a series of poems/short stories/flash pieces, and a couple of picture books. Far from dampening my spirits, the failure only made me more determined, and now, as my next book goes on submission, (it’s taken another two years to get here) I feel a certain amount of peace knowing that
1) the chance for publication is once again close and
2) if it doesn’t make it this time, I have another book in me. And another, until I achieve my dream.
I know it’s possible and over the last couple of years I’ve seen some wonderful friends (both real life and online) go through similar emotional rollercoasters and eventually secure book deals – Laura J Cassidy, Louise Phillips, Susan Lanigan, Maria Duffy, Hazel Gaynor (to name but a few).
From the bottom of my heart, I couldn’t be more delighted for them and every time I hear of another signing, my heart leaps for joy. Because they deserve it, because it makes it all real and tangible.
So what does all this have to do with Pauline? Simple: I’m delighted to have met yet another intriguing, vivacious and gutsy person, someone who understands what it’s like to want something so badly that they’re willing to take risks. It’s always a joy to meet someone that reminds you of why you’re here and how far you’ve come; that although the end goal is what you’re aiming for, it’s the whole journey that counts.
If, like me, you’re still chasing your dream, keep chasing. I believe with enough dedication to your craft, determination to improve and a little bit of luck, you’ll get there. Enjoy the journey – it’s going to be wonderful.