Wednesday, 6 November 2013

IWSG - Right place, wrong place...

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For the first time since the IWSG started, I am writing this on the morning of the group. Last week was half-term so having the kids at home threw me out a lot, and yesterday I was out and about... and even started the Christmas shopping, which pretty much sent me spiralling into a weird wibbly-wobbly, timey wimey haze.

(And to be honest, I'm so impressed with my previous post with Alison Moore that I wanted it to be seen for as long as possible, which is why I'm linking back to it here... hehehe)

Actually, Alison herself might be the source of my insecurity this week. At her event on Saturday Alison read a couple of her short stories. The friend I was with said, "I can see why you like her, she writes just like you."

Argh! You see? If I write like her, I could have been her. Indeed, our careers started very similarly: we both wrote from a young age, we both had lean years (a job for Alison, kids for me) and we both found time to write more again later on (maternity leave for Alison, a new job for me). But then we veer away from each other slightly. While I was winning a small short story competition for Omelette, Alison was being short-listed for the Manchester Fiction Prize, after already being short-listed in competitions I'd love to get on the long-list for!

One of the judges for that prize was Nicholas Royle who went on to become Alison's editor for her first novel. And that's when Alison stayed on a nice forward trajectory and I started roaming around in circles.

Alison was in the right place at the right time. I've been lucky so far (my publisher Vagabondage picked up a novella I thought was destined for a drawer), but I haven't been stratospherically lucky. So, yes, I'm a little insecure, because no matter how brilliant a writer someone is (and I'm not using that word to describe me!) they need a bit of a push from the universe.

Have you been in the right place at the right time?
Or even the wrong place at the wrong time?
Or the right place at the wrong time...?


84 comments:

  1. It makes no logical sense to me why your stories haven't gone further. It continues to baffle me, but no doubt, it will happen one day!

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    1. I love you so much for that comment :-) Perhaps I'll be like Jane Austen and sell millions after I'm gone!

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  2. Ha - YES to all three. Life is full of all three. I think #3 is the most painful though don't you?

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    1. Yes, right place/wrong time definitely hurts the most!

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  3. When I look back on the missed opportunities for my writing and writing career, I want to weep. And sometimes I even let myself do that for a little bit. But then I move forward...forward for me, in whatever way that looks like, however slow or fast. But no matter what, there's usually chocolate involved. :)

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    1. Moving forward is always important - and those missed opportunities are a learning curve! Chocolate is always near by in my house :-)

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  4. Points for the Doctor Who reference!

    I hate that "why can't that be me???" feeling. I know I've wasted a lot of time letting life and emotions get in the way of my writing. It seems like you're at least on the right track.

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    1. I think it's the best Doctor Who quote ever!

      It wasn't supposed to sound self-absorbed. I was just noting how two people who write quite similarly can have just different experiences. I actually believe I've been very lucky, just different.

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  5. I think some people are luckier than others, which means the less lucky ones have to work harder to achieve what the lucky people get easily. It's not fair, but it's life, I guess! At least when it finally happens for you (which I'm sure it will - That Sadie Thing was brilliant!) you'll know you worked hard for it.

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    1. Thank you so much Laura :-)

      Like I said just above, I think I have been pretty lucky. I certainly wouldn't have imagined having two books out a few years ago!

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  6. I write basically all my IWSG posts on the morning of the group. It's been a while, Annalisa. I'm glad to see your blog is still alive and kicking. I had to dust the cobwebs off mine. :)

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    1. It's nice to see you back Michael, sometimes blogging has to be put on hold to write those darn book things!

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  7. We're all on different journeys, and at least you know you're learning a lot. Here's to your future progress!

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    1. Thanks Nick. I'm certainly more confident about my writing than I have been for a long time. Bloggers know how to boost your confidence :-)

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  8. We all have our own journeys. I look at those having great success in the NA arena and wish my books had come out a little bit later so they would've been labeled NA instead of YA. All I can do is keep moving forward and write the next book.

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    1. NA really has exploded out of nowhere hasn't it? Although for me it's just another genre to not quite fit into :-) Good luck with the next book.

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  9. Some people say there is no luck, but that's a load of crap. Lol. Luck does play a role in these things. Now, I don't believe a horse shoe or a rabbit's foot can improve your luck, but I do believe that if you keep working eventually your luck will find you. :) You are a brilliant writer, and your time will come.

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    1. Thanks Rachel. No, I've never believed in lucky trinkets. I once had a lucky Piskie (a Cornish pixie) which I lost soon after I acquired it :-)

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  10. I spent most of my life anywhere and everywhere, usually at the wrong time in the wrong place. The right time at the place happened once when I met my hubs...but apart from that, nope!

    I only started taking my writing seriously recently, and I regret the wasted time, but refuse to regret missing out on accolades. They would be a bonus, a bolster for more sales, perhaps, but little more.

    I say, do what you love. Try to make where you are the right place, and the time you're in, the right time. It's all any of us can do.

    Best of luck!

    shahwharton.com

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    1. At least you were in the right time and place when it really mattered!!

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  11. Oh yeah, luck is an interesting creature. I've been in the wrong place at the wrong time. I've missed the boat (literally) by seconds. And I've definitely wondered why I didn't have a novel in just the right place for just the right person.

    But you know, sitting on the dock watch the boat leave sucked, but when the ferry came three hours later, I got to watch the stars and talk with my best friend ever. So sure, I missed the boat, but the second one was better anyway.

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    1. This comment is perfect, Rena, especially the last line. That's exactly how I try to see things, although I think this post came across as more whiney than I intended - oops. My life seems to work on the lines of getting what I need when I need it - and I'm okay with that, because I need to write :-)

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  12. There really is that element of luck isn't there? Timing-- opportunity. Sounds like, however, you are having success in your own right! And to be compared to another writer you respect is wonderful.

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    1. Luck is a big thing. You know who I think is the luckiest person in the world right now - the actor who plays Agent Coulson. I'm sure when he signed his first Avengers film contract there wasn't any inkling of the TV series, or the number of films he'd be a part of!

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  13. I feel like I spent most of my life in the wrong place. Maybe I'm still there for all I know LOL.
    I agree with Julie though, to be compared to such a talented writer is a great compliment to you and clearly deserved. :)

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    1. Oh no Julie, I think you're definitely in the right place - you seem to be doing tremendously well :-)

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  14. It's all in the timing, and not everyone is on the same time wave. You are still a success in your journey, Annalisa. Don't forget that!

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    1. Thanks Alex - a good dose of inspiring reality! It would be nice even time could slow down for a while, I never seem to make the most of the weeks and months, and then I look around and I'm twenty years older!

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  15. Alex is so right, Annalisa! I think fate can lend a hand - but we have to push ourselves to be in the right place when it does. If we miss that place several times, if it's meant to happen we will be in the right place eventually :-)

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    1. My whole life has actually been a case of something better being around the corner when I thought I'd failed. It's pretty cool :-)

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  16. Our posts are on a similar theme this month as I've been asking myself these type of questions. Obviously talent is involved but I think there is also an element of luck, being in the right place at the right time. Landing on the right desk on the right day.. I guess we just keep trying and cheering our fellow writers on as we go. Who knows when our big break will come, maybe tomorrow, next week, next year that in itself can be exciting and worth hanging in there for. And as Alex so rightly says we are all successful because we have come this far!

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    1. I agree. Follow every opportunity and at some point it WILL be the right time and place :-)

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  17. I started writing when I was young and put it by the wayside, the timing was wrong. I started writing again after having babies, the timing was wrong. Now many years later I've found the time, the timing is right. It seems like some people soar while others float. It's hard to watch a friend soaring while you're floating, I know. However, Don't worry, your time will come!

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    1. I'm not sure I'm the type of person who could handle soaring anyway - floating seems a lot more sustainable :-)

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  18. I definitely have more wrong places at the wrong time than the much-preferred right option, but as Sir Winston once said, "Never give up. Never. Never. Never."

    Love that quote :)

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    1. That is a great quote - I shall remember it :-)

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  19. I often feel as though I'm always in the wrong place at the wrong time, especially where writing is concerned. But I continue to hope that I'll eventually find the right time and place.

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    1. Continuing writing is the only way to guarantee being in the right place one day! Keep going :-)

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  20. I'm still waiting to be in the right place at the right time. I've been in the wrong place at the wrong time. I like the Sir Winston quote above =)

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    1. I'm sure we'll all get to the right place at the right time.

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  21. I do believe luck is involved, Annalisa. It takes a lot of work to get it. I've not been in the right place at the right time yet either. Although she's where you'd like to be, it doesn't mean she'll stay there. This business is filled with downs and ups.

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    1. It is a fickle business, and wherever you look there are more and more people writing and trying to get published - which means luck is more important than ever to get those big breaks. I definitely agree the harder you work the luckier you get. (That's a quote from someone, but I can't think from who!)

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  22. I have had a serious of right place at the right time moments that ultimately made me wish I had missed the bus that day (Ok, I haven't ridden a bus since middle school, but seem to fit), but I am still looking for another right place right time moment. And, I have hope, which is the best thing to have at this stage.

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    1. My life is based on the knowledge that my writing will be successful. Even if it never is, I'll always have that hope. It's a good word to use :-)

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  23. There is definitely a lot of luck involved, but there's a lot of insane, obsessive stubbornness involved too. If your friend hadn't been determined to put herself out there, she wouldn't have met her editor and gotten her chance. I got my agent after 125 queries. None of my CPs hang in that long. When their rejection-meter reaches 60 or so, they hang it up and go on to the next project. Be insanely determined, Annalisa! :-)

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    1. I've been insanely determined for 20 years, I flag every so often, but that's where the chocolates and wine come into it. Well done for not giving up :-)

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  24. Indeed, you can't question your choices and what you've done. Your life flow and path is different and it's yours and you just have to embrace it. You are having Annalisa success and you are still young - trust me, you are. And I can tell your kids are a priority and that's a good thing, so I'm sure some important parenting time could have been spent writing and marketing BUT then your kids path would change. And on and on. It's one big circle and yours is golden.

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    1. Now there's a quote I love: I'm having Annalisa success :-) Thanks for those positive words Joanne, they definitely put a smile on my face.

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  25. Timing is one part of the journey for sure, but if you keep at it, your time will come. Keep plugging away. Great IWSG post!

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    1. I couldn't give up if I tried, that's the great thing about being stubborn :-)

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  26. You are brilliant Annalisa. And your time will come. Keep your head up!! Thanks for being so honest in this post and sharing your frustrations-

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    1. Thank Jaybird, I wasn't sure where this post was going when I started writing it - it kind of surprised me :-)

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  27. It's good that you have a friend that you can look to and follow her patterns, but watch the comparisons...they may have an adverse effect. Comparing myself to others can put me in a negative head space, but I have to remember that's them and this is me. Otherwise I feel like a piece of sh...crap.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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    1. She's not a friend, just a lovely writer who kindly answered my rambling questions. As for the comparison, it's definitely a positive thing. I'm careful how my head thinks, and I'm really not as upset as my post comes across.

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  28. I've never believed in luck before. My opinion has always been that you make your own decisions about life.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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    1. I believe in Fate. I believe I am destined to get where I want to be, but I also know I have to put the hard work in. There's no point wanting to be successful if I don't actually write anything worthy.

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  29. You're both great writers, just remember that and don't compare. The universe just hasn't decided it's your turn yet. It'll come.

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    1. Sometimes it would be nice if the universe went by our clock instead of its own, wouldn't it? :-)

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  30. It doesn't have to be the same for everyone, the path to success I mean...A slower pace might be a more certain one :)....Kisses and inspiration.

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  31. It's true that a successful writing career takes some luck. I haven't found that right place at the right time yet, but I hope to soon. I'd been told the chances of your luck increase with more material, so that's what I'm doing now.

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    1. Having more work available definitely helps the right people find you. Good luck Marta :-)

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  32. A little of both. There are some who luck just finds, and others of us who work really hard to make our own luck. Working hard builds us into competent, worthy people. Those who get lucky dont get the same type of life building lessons. And I wonder if they can ever taste success as sweetly as those of us who have to labor for it.

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  33. I have yet to be in the right place at the right time and know the right people and say the right things. So much is based on luck. It's more than a bit frustrating, but we've just got to keep pushing onward and doing what we love. :) Have a great weekend.

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    1. From my perspective, I think you're doing phenomenally well, doing and saying ALL the right things. Just keep doing it :-)

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  34. I think with regards to my career it is a case of wrong place, wrong time and with my writing it is always the case of the right place at the wrong time. Don't sell yourself short. I think you do amazingly well. You have had many of your short stories published and believe me, even that is hard to do. I have tried and failed. You are great. Wishing you the best.

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    1. Thanks Murees. Sorry for the slow reply to this one, I completely overlooked it :-) I hope you get to the right place at the right time soon, both with your writing and your job!

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  35. Oh, that's a painful feeling. I've had that especially when I look at the last 20 years and think, "what have I been doing with all that time? I should have, could have. . . well, you get it.
    I think that a push from the universe helps, but at the same time I think that when things fall into place for you, the timing will be right. :) Keep on writing and working!

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    1. Hi Tyrean, sorry for the belated reply, I seem to have overlooked several messages, or they got lost. I'm waiting for the universe to realise that I'm not giving up on writing and it had better give me a big break soon :-)

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  36. Hi Annalisa,

    And sometimes,as we both know, it's about who you know and nothing to do with writing talent. At this point I wont mention the 'author', Katie Price aka Jordan. So popular they named a country after her. I'm in the right place at the right time, actually. I'm happy with how things are going with my writing. Okay, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar is the writer who deserves the plaudits.

    Annalisa, you write what you write and maintain your own unique style. It will bode well for you. Penny has told me this.

    Gary

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    1. Hi Gary, I trust Penny - I knew there was more to her than just being a modest internet superstar, she's a fortune teller too :-)

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  37. Hi, Annalisa! I think luck does have something to do with making it big in publishing. I like the quote "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity." All I can do is prepare the best I can by writing, learning, writing, editing, and putting my time in. Sounds like a nice compliment you heard?

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    1. That's a great quote, Jennifer! I hope I'll be prepared too :-)

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  38. Hmm ... I try very hard NOT to compare myself to super successful authors because it generally ends with me feeling depressed! It's hard though. I know it is! Anyway, I don't know about the right place, right time, wrong time whatever thing. I personally think that everything happens for a reason, so I'm exactly where I'm meant to be right now :-)

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    1. No, I spur myself on by comparing myself to others - but we all deal with things differently, don't we? I agree everything happens for a reason, so I'm exactly where I should be too :-)

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  39. I think this is where we have to stop comparing ourselves against one another, and compare ourselves against ourselves. There are times when the universe magically aligns, but I think most accomplishment goes to those who persevere over time. (Or at least the greatest sense of accomplishment.)

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    1. I'm such I must tick the perseverance box - 20 years!! And as I've said above, finding people who are similar and watching their progression really helps motivate me. My mum has been trying to tell me about the mysteries of the universe aligning - perhaps I ought to listen to her.

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  40. Man, such a great post. I still keep hoping I really am in the right place :)

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, with Joy)

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    1. I don't think we ever know until afterwards, that's the downside. We're all heading to the right place, if we haven't made it already, that's the most important thing to remember :-)

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  41. I hope I'm at the right place at the right time here on your blog to make this comment...
    Perhaps nothing is wrong. It is destined a certain way for a reason we don't know.
    It happened to me with a short story I wrote. It got rejected several times. Two years later it was accepted by a good literary magazine and now I know that all those rejections were worthwhile

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    1. Definitely the right place and time Julia :-) I believe in Fate/destiny, so I really should trust my belief. I have many examples of rejections that led to something better, so I know it's true. Rejections exist to make us and our work stronger - if we were accepted all the time, we'd have no reason to improve!

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  42. I keep writing thinking my right time will come. Situations can seem random and people can appear more fortunate. We're all on our own special journey, though.

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    1. I just hope my special journey isn't heading for a dead-end :-)

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Please comment - I love a good chat!