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A Writing Challenge

As with other professionals, we writers also have to develop our skills when we can. Whether that is with the craft itself or marketing, we have a continual need to update our skills. Therefore, when we find something on offer that is either of interest or fills a need we must take advantage of it.

Training or self-development should always leave you with at least a better understanding of where you are. If you are lucky it can also help to lead you towards the next step on your journey. Better still it can help your motivation and leave you desperate to hit those keyboards and surge forward.

It shouldn’t however leave you with a feeling of ‘what’s the point?’ I recently accessed an event aimed at authors that left me feeling exactly like that. The experts enjoyed sharing their knowledge. They came from a certain field but at one point I felt like they disdained some writers. What I took away from it, in the end, was that it was not necessary to write to end up with a contract to become a writer.

So why bother writing in the first place? Does that mean I should leave the industry or stop tapping out my stories on the keyboard? Have I the wrong personality to continue or not perhaps a strong enough backbone to take the words of these experts? Do I carry on?

This self-doubt despite the fact one of my books won a prize and an unpublished manuscript was shortlisted in another literacy event. I felt after listening to the hourly panel, I had done everything wrong. Maybe I have but after seven Gaelic books for children and two English books for adults, surely I’ve done something right? My readers seem to enjoy reading them, so the writing is good enough.

You would think given my output that I would feel comfortable calling myself a writer. It would appear not. After tuning in to the ‘self-development’ I haven’t touched the keyboard in two days. I’ll admit for one of those I was away but normally I would have found at least a few hours somewhere to write something. I have also found that migraines and PC don’t fit very well together. Wearing dark glasses does help although may not have the best look when trying to come over as at least partially intelligent!

I have taken my bruised ego, brushed it down, wiped it off, and hung it out to dry in some fierce winds. It has helped. In the end, not every writer snuggly dovetails into a specific genre or is deemed a good fit with publishing houses or agents. The publishing world is no easier than any other industry. Some writers deservedly will rise to the top. Others will as they have connections with people who can help them. In that, it is no different from many other places of work.

The one thing I suppose that other industries don’t have is writers who are no longer with us that can it would appear still produce written work from the grave. Not something they have written before that has suddenly been found you understand but something they have somehow managed to produce when dead, real ‘ghost-writing.’ But that is another story altogether.

Will I carry on writing? Well, I suppose I just have. It is something in the end that is as much a part of my soul as is music is to a musician, painting is to an artist, or Gaelic to a Gael.

I need to listen to advice from the right professionals that will challenge, develop and understand my voice. Accept that not everyone or organisation is the best fit for me. And most of all remember that writing strengthens my soul.

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