Hi my fellow literary revolutionaries!
Sorry I’ve been quiet for a few weeks – I’ve still been recovering from bronchitis (the GP said it’d take 4-6 weeks to feel like myself, plus Fibro’s random effects and he was sadly right!), plus I’ve been catching up with work after my time off ill. However, I did manage to pop to Fortnum and Mason in London to celebrate my birthday earlier in the month! (Everything was sooo delicious!)
I’m a firm believer in celebrating everything in life, including all and any writing achievements.
I love the story Monica Wood tells in The Pocket Muse where she tells of how she bought a special bottle of wine to drink when she got a story published … and then it took five years for that to happen and the wine spoiled, so now she says to celebrate all the things – finishing a draft, submitting a piece to a competition, getting shortlisted for an award, receiving an encouraging rejection and so on.
It took me ten years from completing my first draft of Welcome to Sharonville to get published and, yes, I was working on other books and a lot of it was due to life stuff, so I wasn’t out there banging on agents’ and editors’ doors every day of that decade, but I swear the one thing which kept me going was that every time I got a prize or some positive feedback, I went out and made merry with my friends!
Progress, however, small, is significant in our writing lives, even if only we know about it.
We need to notice how we’re moving forward in our projects, often despite a lot of crapola that comes our way both as just part of the deal of being human and the clusterfuck of being a woman writer writing in a man’s world which I’d argue makes things way harder for us than our male peers as we do more domestic and childcare work, plus keep the world upright with our emotional labour (and let’s not get started on the beauty regimes men aren’t supposed to need, but we are!).
Be proud of the new idea you got down in your notebook then. Completing the shitty first draft. Editing out some shit from that draft to make it a way better book. The fancy literary journal you sent your stuff to though you were scared. The submission package you emailed to the agent of your dreams (whether or not they took you on, that takes courage and represents forward momentum).
All these small steps and private victories are all leading you towards the day when you can embrace the very public glory of being published – either by yourself or someone else (whatever you want!).
Celebration then is, I believe, a powerful antidote to the pernicious perfectionism instilled in us as women in our culture who can basically never win as we’re always too much of something or not enough of another as, when start to notice our achievements, instead of dismissing them that inner critical voice loses some of its power.
Now we have evidence we’re not lazy or talentless etc, but are, however slowly and surely, going places.
I believe you will get to your desired literary end point and I can help via coaching and editorial services if you need any support along the way.
However, I am also a great believer in the value of sisterhood and sharing our journeys – that’s why I’ve planned three glorious online workshops for Feminist Writing School (beta) which are designed to get you out of exhaustion, self-doubt and playing small into kicking ass as a woman writer, providing practical tips, insights and support from myself and other female authors who are walking the same path.
I believe there’s a tension then between the infinite talents and artistic aspirations of many women writers and the way internalised patriarchy and external misogyny work to undermine their literary careers from both inside and out – and I want to do something about it so that more women’s books are written, published and out there changing the world.
Part of this work is officially launching the Feminist Writing School in May, but you can be part of founding something awesome by taking part of the opening three low cost workshops this spring!
You can read more about them here!
If you have any questions about the classes or if money is an issue right now, just hit reply and we’ll sort something out! The beta version is there for me to explore what supports women writers best and you’ll be helping me too by taking part!
Hope to see some of you in class!
In the meantime, remember to keep celebrating EVERYTHING you do as a woman writer!
I’d LOVE to hear something you are proud of!