Monday, 23 April 2012

T is for Tasting the Grass by Annalisa Rowe

Okay, so I admit, this is another cheat post, because it's about me! (Rowe is my maiden name.) I tried very hard to come up with an inspiring T, but I obviously have a huge gap in my literary knowledge. At this point, U isn't looking too good either! Anyway, back to T...

Tasting the Grass (I posted it here last year - feel free to read and comment, either here or there) was published by New Fiction magazine in October 1994, back when there were a proliferation of small press magazines to submit to.

It was my first published story, and - as you can see - I still have the magazine.

I started writing for submission - as opposed to just writing - in 1993 when I left school and was unemployed. I wrote loads that year, and the next, and finally I was accepted. I had another acceptance the following month... and then nothing. Every couple of years, I'd maybe have one or two stories accepted or win a prize - if you check this link to my CV page, you'll see my stop-start career. My big break never came.

Over the years, I've had some wonderfully encouraging rejection letters and critiques through competitions. Each time I thought I was on the verge. I'd see the same names alongisde mine in the longlists, and then gradually those names would start moving up into the winning places, and finally they'd have their books published. Names like Helen Dunmore and Sally Zigmond.

But I'm happy. In that time - has it really been 18 years! - I've got married, had two children, worked and re-trained. Each time I've truly thought about giving up, I've had success with a submission, and of course carried on. Because, really, I never want to give up writing.

And then, last year, my biggest success so far came with the acceptance of Cat and the Dreamer.

So, in a roundabout way, this post isn't about me at all - it's about saying don't give up! If you truly want to write, then write and see where it takes you - it's taken me 18 years to get to this point. If you want to make lots of money, perhaps you should try a different career. 

And as Joanne Trollope famously said about her own career: "It's taken me 20 years to become an overnight success."


35 comments:

  1. That's some important advice for every writer. The closest I've ever gotten was "love the book but it's not right for us" but it doesn't keep me from writing.

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    1. That reply is wonderful - you definitely don't give up when someone tells you that, you just find who the book is right for! Good luck.

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  2. I think "T is for Tasting the Grass" was the perfect post for today. :) It is inspiring and uplifting. I've had a lot of rejection and a few "almosts" and now a "we gotta have it" but it doesn't matter. I'd write even if no one was reading.

    Great post,
    Michelle :)
    www.michelle-pickett.com/blog
    A to Z Challenger

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    1. Thanks Michelle. You prove the point perfectly - nothing to almost to yes! Well done!

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  3. Writing does seem to be as much about perseverance as crafting. It's certainly not for everyone, but I love it ^_^

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    1. Strength of character to re-read, revise if needed and send it out again. I love it too :-)

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  4. This is such an awe-inspiring post. i think i'd die if i couldn't write, but still, great advice!

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    1. Thanks Catherine. I feel the same way about my writing.

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  5. Ha, I love that Joanna Trollope quote!

    This is a very inspiring post - and a good reminder that if we want to succeed, we have to keep going!

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    1. That quote is the only writing quote I ever remember, which is quite lucky in this context :-)

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  6. Good for you. None of us should give up. I needed this today. Thanks for the inspirational story. Good luck on all your future publications. I'm sure they will be many.

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    1. Thanks Ciara. I always find it comforting to remember that JK Rowling was rejected a lot, and look where she ended up!

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  7. Annalisa, that's a huge accomplishment. Kudos to you for never giving up! You are truly an inspiration!

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  8. I think it's all about ebb and flow. I've had times where I got lots of things published and then other times, well, not so much. I've received personalized rejections from agents and editors. and I've also got form letters where someone scrawled in the word "Lady" after Dear. Dear: Lady. That's me. :)

    Congratulations on all your published work AND for hanging in when others give up!

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    1. lol 'Dear Lady' - I love that. These days any personalised letter is worth its weight in gold - it means you made an impression!

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  9. Doesn't matter how long it takes, either!

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    1. Mary Wesley was 71 when her first adult book was published, and then went on to have 10 best-sellers. So, no, it really doesn't matter how long :-)

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  10. Thanks for your inspirational story. I'm 6 years and counting, and I won't give up!

    Congratulations on reaching your goal!

    What was wrong with "T for Theresa"? ; )

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    1. I'm glad you're not giving up - it'll be worth it!

      Theresa was my second choice :-)

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  11. I really needed this today. You're right, we can't give up. And I love that quote :) The "overnight" success will come at some point.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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    1. Positive mental attitude! Sports and writing, there IS something in common :-)

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  12. I always keep Mary Wesley in mind as a reason to keep going! Annalisa, I re-read the story and loved it just as much as I did the first time. Great post! LindaK

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  13. I loved reading this, Annalisa. It is a long process, isn't it? I loved Cat & the Dreamer. So, I hope you don't give up ever. Because I want to read more.

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    1. Thank you Mary, I'm glad you liked it.

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  14. Quite right1 Never give up and write just because you love writing.

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    1. I think it shows in the writing the people who don't write for the love of it.

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  15. Not giving up is right! LOL Plus everyone remembers theirs firsts.


    Sonia Lal @ Story Treasury

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    1. I don't remember very many of my firsts, so luckily I still have a cop!

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    2. Copy, not cop! :-) Must remember to proof read...

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  16. That's so great! It's amazing what we writers go thru to be writers. ANd it's so encouraging to hear stories like yours. For me, it's about easing up and keeping a fresh perspective... and sometimes, avoiding the web to stay on my own course.Thanks for sharing your journey!

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    1. Avoiding the web! Yes, I ought to attempt that, but I have a feeling I'd fail miserably :-)

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  17. Hi Annalisa .. you've done so well and not given up - that's the main thing - and you've had a life in and around the books .. good for you .. Good luck with the new book and your future .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks Hilary - it's never really occurred to me that I've been following my dream for my entire life! It sounds so cool when you say it out loud :-)

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Please comment - I love a good chat!