The Diary of an Unpublished Author #1

In which Beth decides to begin chronicling the ups and downs (mainly downs) of her illustrious writing career.

Dear Diary,

I want to be a writer.

I’ve said this many times before, many, many times. It’s become a stock phrase, one I smile while I say because I know just how cliché and unattainable it sounds. I say it without thinking, but for some reason I always forget to say I am a writer. It’s true though. I write everyday, or try to, I’ve written a book and a half, hundreds of thousands of words, and – hang on – I’m writing this, aren’t I? So I guess when you think about it, saying that I want to be a writer would be like saying I want to be a human or I want to breathe because both those things are pre-existing factors of my state of being. I am a writer and I don’t think anything’s ever been more simple.

Let’s start with the facts then shall we? My book – let’s be cryptic and call it TMoF for now – has been rejected by literary agents a fair few times. You might know what TMoF stands for. You might be one of the lucky few who has read it. You might even be the person who passionately described it as ‘actually quite good’ (which, incidentally, is what I will put on the front cover when it’s published, I can picture it now: ACTUALLY QUITE GOOD. (Get used to brackets by the way, I’m a big fan of the cheeky aside.)). Most likely though; you are a complete stranger who had no idea what TMoF means and, quite frankly, that information is irrelevant. All you need to know is that it’s a piece of my heart and soul, and that’s the way it should be.

Today, however, amongst an inbox of literary agent submission confirmations and a dirndl outfit payment receipt (erm, that’s a whole other story), I received the ultimate oxymoron: a hopeful rejection. Yes, it was the usual rejection template telling me that no agent felt strongly enough about my work to take it on, but they wish me all the best blah blah blah, but they did, in the midst of all of this, offer me a spark of hope, the tiniest glimpse into a future I could have and want so dearly. With a small complimentary sentence which stood out of the rejection like a sore thumb, I became excited beyond belief. Sometimes it just takes a few words to bring you back to life, to reinvigorate and re-inspire. I’ve never been so ready to work so hard for something I want so much.

So what’s with this diary, then? What’s with all the inane ramblings and waffling? What’s the point, Beth?

I can’t lie to you. A small part inside of me thinks that this could be one of those things: you know when somebody is super famous and successful, and they dig up some old journal describing their fight to reach the top. This could be that. Future me will look back on this and chuckle knowingly as she sits in her armchair, grey and old, but also super rich and surrounded by her hundreds of literary awards and millions of adoring fans. “Just you wait,” she will sigh through her last breath, before her heart, content with both its ripe old age and multitude of successes, gives way in a little stutter and the brightest star in the sky is extinguished.

OR, I mean, aside from the dramatics and vivid imaginary death scenes, it’s really quite nice to process what’s happening in my life, to chart my writing failures and hopes, and to, more than anything, just write.

I wrote this diary entry in about ten minutes, fingers flying over my keyboard, and it all came so freely, so naturally, it reminds me just how much I love it. Even after years of writing and editing, drafts and submissions, rejections and disappointment, I still love it. And I don’t think that will ever go away, whatever may come.



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