A Beginning and an End
Hazel Gaynor launches her new guest blog with some soothing words; Keep Calm and Carry on Writing.
It’s becoming an all too familiar sight – another fresh, crisp, blank Word document in front of me, the cursor winking away expectantly. ‘Come on then, write something. Write that bestseller you’ve been promising us for, oh, what must it be now, twenty years or so?’
Yes, that’s me. I’m ‘that’ person – the eternal optimist, searching for that elusive publishing deal. Countless half-baked ideas, mounds of scribbled-in notebooks and three fully completed and rejected manuscripts later (two fiction novels and one non-fiction memoir which total somewhere in the region of 250,000 painstaking words), I’m starting to think publishing deals don’t really exist, that they’re just myths, the stuff of legend; about as simple to track down as the Ark of the Covenant or the golden snitch.
Being an aspiring writer is no easy thing, as any aspiring writer will tell you. It’s a lonely, frustrating occupation, riddled with potential for disappointment and despair but – and here’s the thing – with the benefit of hindsight, I’ve come to the conclusion that the rejections and close-shaves have made me more determined than ever to succeed. Of course, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thrown the occasional strop on the way to reaching this conclusion, or curled up on the sofa in a deep ‘rejected-author’ malaise, unable to speak to anyone, let alone turn on the laptop or pick up a pen, but I’m pleased to have reached this conclusion all the same.
Because, for some reason (perhaps it’s genetic?), aspiring writers just can’t stop aspiring. Those voices start chattering away in our heads, the seed of another idea is planted and takes root and before we know it, we’re waking up excited about a new plot twist in the middle of the night and rush to write it down before it disappears and, preferably, before the kids need their breakfast. Despite the fact that our carefully crafted words may never exist anywhere other than in our brain and our laptop, we persevere, soldier on, ignore the kids and the housework and invitations to coffee shops and the pub (well, sometimes we ignore these invitations), because something within us tells us that this manuscript might just be ‘the one’ so we should crack on and get it written.
And that’s exactly how I feel as that blank document glares back at me and I type the brilliant title I’ve conjured up, followed with ‘by Hazel Gaynor’. It looks pretty good on the screen – I’m sure it will look fantastic on the cover of a proper, actual book.
Few things in life are guaranteed and getting a publishing deal – perhaps now, more than ever – is certainly far from a dead cert. One thing, however, in this quest for publication, is certain. If you don’t open that new blank document and start typing those words, it is absolutely never, ever going to happen.
So, what else can we do, except ‘Carry on Writing.’
In this blog, I hope to share the ups and downs, trials and tribulations, failures and successes of one writer’s journey, starting at the very beginning; at that blank screen. I apologise in advance for any self-pity, sulking or downright misery I subject you to along the way. I’m sure you’ll understand and here’s hoping, eternally, that this particular tale comes with a very happy ending.
Now, be off with you. I have a bestseller to create.
Hazel Gaynor is the acclaimed New York Times, USA Today and internationally bestselling author of five novels. Her 2014 debut, THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, won the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award and THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY was shortlisted for the 2016 Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. She was also selected as a WHSmith Fresh Talent title in 2015. In 2018, Hazel will release her sixth historical novel, THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER'S DAUGHTER, inspired by the true story of Victorian heroine, Grace Darling. Hazel's books have been translated into eight languages and are published in 15 countries to date. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children and is represented by Michelle Brower of Aevitas Creative, New York. For more information, visit www.hazelgaynor.com