Guest Post – Simon Whaley

Snowdrops are coming up! How 'positive' is that?!

Ooh, get me, with my ‘Guest Posts’! How posh! Actually, apart from Michaela’s lovely post about her Moonwalk a few months ago, this is the only Guest Post I’ve ever had! So I’m very chuffed that Simon’s sent me some very inspiring and interesting words, (to tie in, of course, with the book giveaway), on being a Positive and Productive writer. So, it’s over to Simon and – enjoy!

Firstly, thanks to Helen for allowing me to guest post on her blog, and good luck to everyone who has entered her competition. (Fantastic prize, by the way!)

As writers, I think there’s one important lesson we have to learn. Rejection is necessary. Only when you’ve been rejected, can you really appreciate an acceptance. What we need to understand is that rejection is not the end of the journey, but merely a stepping-stone along that journey. Let me give you an example. The Weekly News has just published a short story of mine: A Library Full of Murder. However, that story has been rejected eight times. That’s eight times I could simply have thrown it away, decided it wasn’t publishable, and brought the journey of that piece of writing to an end. But I didn’t. I kept rewriting and sending it out. And I was rewarded with publication … last week. Yippee!

There is an interesting adjunct to this tale. One of those eight publications that had previously rejected my story was a publication called The Weekly News! Originally, I’d submitted it to the fiction editor, Billy Wiggins, who was covering the role whist Jill Finlay was on maternity leave. Billy rejected it. But I decided to try it again with the current fiction editor, Jill Finlay, who liked it and accepted it. Proof, if ever any were needed, how subjective these decisions can be.

Ten other publishers rejected The Positively Productive Writer, before Compass Books decided they liked it. That’s ten times when I could have given up. But I didn’t.

Having the right frame of mind can help you to put things into perspective and not give up. That’s why I wrote the book, because we can all learn how to turn things around. I’ve been overwhelmed by the reviews that The Positively Productive Writer has already received on Amazon, and I’ve also received many emails from readers who have contacted me directly. One was from an ex-student of mine, who was doing well with his writing, having had numerous articles published, but a few years ago was diagnosed with a health condition. This causes him pain throughout his body, so he doesn’t know how he’s going to feel from one day to the next. With other family health problems to contend with too, his writing took a back seat, and then he began wondering whether he would be able to write anything again.

Then he bought my book and read it. He emailed to say it made him realise that as long as he wrote something everyday, he would be able to finish a piece of writing. Suddenly, he was hopeful again. Ideas were buzzing around in his head once more. Two days later, he emailed again. He’d decided to pitch an article idea to one of the editors he used to do a lot of work for. Twenty-four hours later, the editor replied, commissioning the piece, and also saying how good it was hear from him again. There’s an example of how just having the right frame of mind has led to something positive. I’m not saying positivity guarantees success, but without the positive attitude, my ex-student wouldn’t have taken the action to approach the editor with his idea. It’s that action that resulted in his commission.

As writers, we are blessed with overactive imaginations – it’s what gives us all of those wonderful ideas in the first place! But our imaginations can also work against us, making us think things for which there is no logical evidence. It’s actions that make things happen, but it’s how we’re thinking that determines whether we take any action in the first place. Once you understand how to focus on the positive, your chances of taking action and being productive are that much greater. And a productive writer stands much more chance of being a successful writer.

Good luck!

Read Simon’s blog and more about his new book ‘The Positively Productive Writer’ here

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6 Responses to Guest Post – Simon Whaley

  1. Amazing; I love the fact that you’ve had rejections and have the persevering attitude never to give up. It’s easy to think when someone’s had a story or book published that everything they write gets accepted. Thanks for this Simon, and thank you Helen.

  2. simonwhaley says:

    Hi Susan Jane Jones,

    That’s right, whenever we see a successful writer, we just assume that everything fell into place easily. I was told recently, that the writer of the bestselling book, The Help, received 60 rejections. But she succeeded in the end!

    Simon

  3. Pingback: The Blog Tour Continues! | Simon Whaley

  4. Kath says:

    Hi Simon & Helen

    Great post. I’d agree that it’s sensible not to give up on some stories. Last year I revisited a few of my stories that did the rounds twenty years ago (I had a writing hat on for a twelve month period twenty years ago which I took off and only put back on two years ago). Each of the stories were rejected by at least six magazines way back then. Well after a few changes like introducing mobile phones and CDs or DVDs where relevant I submitted them again. Guess what? I’ve sold them all first time out. I’m just hoping I won’t have to wait another twenty years to sell the stories I’m writing now! Although I have managed to sell a few of them already – far too many rejections though. Good wishes.Kath

  5. simonwhaley says:

    Kath, that’s brilliant! Good luck with your current writing!

  6. Kath says:

    Thanks, Simon. Good luck with yours too. All good wishes Kath.

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