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Tell Your Own Story

Writing and Me by Alice Whelan

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Article by Alice Whelan ©.
Posted in the Magazine (Tell Your Own Story: , ).
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Writing and me, I can’t help thinking of the book, Marley and me, whenever I say writing and me. Marley and me is such a lovely feel good, sometimes funny and at other times sad story that leaves a nice feeling in you long after reading the final page.

Writing and me used to have a tempestuous connection. It took years of me getting to know you and you getting to know me before we came to a mutual and fond relationship. Now we get along famously. We have come to an agreeable understanding and it’s all due to patience, hard work, perseverence and tolerance. All of these attributes were my downfall in the beginning of my writing career. I realised writing was perfect for me but I had to forgo the chains that held me back if I wanted writing and me to get along and become partners. I had a story to tell and nothing was getting in my way. Writing certainly wasn’t. So, all the words that I had in my head to make up a story came tumbling out and before long I had ninety-six thousand words written. To me, it was a great story. But what do I do now? Who will I get to read it? I was eager for someone to see what I had done.

I stumbled across a writing site on the internet. After studying it and its guidelines, I decided to sign up and upload a couple of chapters of my book. It didn’t dawn on me that my work would not be favoured by others. I have a blockbuster here and I’m willing to share it with you, was my thinking. You are lucky people to get a chance to read my chapters before it becomes a bestseller. Oh, the innocence. I cringe now thinking about it.

This site offered feedback on a person’s work. Within minutes of registering on the site I received comments on my story. See, I thought, people are loving it already. They can’t wait to congratulate me. I read the comments that came flooding in. After a few days of interacting with the community, I acknowledged I had a lot to learn. And do you know what? I did learn.

For a couple of years I came onto the site most days, read loads of stories, offered my opinions and accepted comments offered in good faith on my own work. I would like to think that as others helped me with my story that I in turn helped them to shape theirs also. It was a humbling experience to realise that my story required a lot of work to make it better. I mostly accepted what the other members had to offer. Quite a lot of them were published authors. Some were editors and others had published works in magazines and newspapers. I valued their opinions. And guess what. I became a top talent spotter. It’s true. I was listed on the site’s home page as one of the top five talent spotters. That means I had an eye for detail and could gauge which book on the site would become the most popular. I feel really good about that. It goes to show that whatever you do and if you do it well then you will get recognised. Persevere with your work and never give up. You may not ever get published but that’s not your fault. If you concentrate and do your work well then it is publishable. Just because you can’t find a publisher doesn’t mean it’s not fit for publication.

I try to do the best that I can in all walks of life but in the beginning I didn’t take writing too seriously. I thought I knew it all. Sure, it’s only words. String them along together and you have a sentence. Make a few more sentences and you have a paragraph. Soon you will have a page of words and before long, a book. It’s a little more complicated than that to write and ‘s so much fun.

Remember it’s okay to look for help, especially if you are starting out as a writer. It’s also a great feeling to give others feedback as well. My stories are not published yet but someday I hope they will be and then, writing and me will have a marriage that’s made in alphabet land.

(c) Alice Whelan

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My name is Alice Whelan and I live in the south east of Ireland underneath the picturesque Comeragh mountains. I am married with two children.

I was made redundant from my place of work in 2011 and took up writing almost straightaway. Writing helped me deal with losing my job. I thought I was indespensible and couldn't be done without. It came as an awful blow to realise I could.

Since then I have written two stories. Both are in the Women's Fiction genre. I am in the process of writing a crime story at the moment. My works are not published. I would prefer to be traditionally published and am thinking of submitting my work to various publishers.

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