Hello! I've had a bit of a face-lift as you can see. I'm no longer in my blogging underwear. In my dreams I’d love to have the skills and time to construct my own Blog design but I have a book to edit, short stories to write, a house to renovate and a four-year-old girl to entertain and so for now I'm happy to take advantage of the talent and generosity of others in the Blogosphere.
I've been enjoying the cozy, rainy chilly Sydney weather with my daughter at home. We've been baking biscuits, doing craft and reading The Far Away Tree and Pinocchio stories. I always enjoy our days at home when we don't have to be out and about in the world rushing from one activity to the next.
We're in the process of obtaining quotes for completing our renovations, although Daisy informed me today she "doesn't want to live in this stupid little house anymore! She wants to live in a big house and call it Daisy! Unless we win the Lotto this week that big house called Daisy hardly seems likely, and so in the meantime it means a trip to Ikea so Daisy can have a bedroom.
That was a really stunning photo I posted of Kahlo on Monday, wasn't it? She looks so young and so determined. I think to succeed in writing you really have to be as determined as Frida. It takes a lot of grit to start and finish a book - and that's just the beginning - because then you have to navigate what can be a publishing minefield.
Aspiring writers often ask me how to get an agent. This can be the most frustrating and challenging step. Australia has only a handful of agents and it's really difficult if you're not a known 'name' to get onto their books.
I'm fortunate to be represented by Selwa Anthony who has looked after me for years. When I was frantically agent-hunting I had my heart set on Selwa who I had seen in a magazine article. She doesn't list her contact details which makes finding her extremely challenging to say the least.
I know this sounds like a sequence from The Secret but I became totally determined to find Selwa somehow and she would be my agent. I really felt it would happen with every degree of my body. Perhaps not overnight but I believed that no matter how long it took - I would end up on her books. It was a totally different feeling to wanting Selwa and desiring an agent. It was a total knowing that I would have her as my agent and I was prepared to wait years if I had to. Okay, cue the soundtrack to the Secret and flash to a scene of the pyramids being built.
After I had reached that 'knowing' stage I had two different people come to me with her contact details. But I already did have a publishing company interested in a book I had written at art school and so there was a product to show Selwa.
That is the sort of determination you have to possess. The determination that sees you through a billion rejections, heartbreaks, closed doors and to keep going knowing inside yourself it will happen.
We all know those stories of writers like Robert M. Pirsig and his book Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance that was rejected by 121 publishing houses before he was finally picked up and sold millions of copies worldwide. I just love those stories! You have to ask yourself if you would have had the spine to keep sending that manuscript out for the 122nd time? I've got to work on my own determination as I think I would have given up on the fourth attempt!
We may never hopefully have to endure any of the agony that Frida Kahlo did for her art but we can hold onto her grit, imaginative brilliance and determination to sustain us through the bleak and frustrating times that we all go through as creative artists.
Enjoy your weekend. I will be taking my daughter to ballet and hanging out at home trying to cull the excess of papers in my office. Hopefully I'll have some time for the garden.
I have now completed the first draft of my mystery Poets Cottage which came in at 120 000 words. It's now time for the editing stage before I can give it to my agent.
Thank you to all who gave positive comments here and on Facebook. Your support is deeply appreciated.
Hope to see you here next week. See the sacred in the everyday mundane moments. Stay jolly be kind, play safe and create, create, create! . xx
One of the marks of a gift is to have the courage of it.
Katherine Anne Porter