Keep the faith

Hello again. I’ve been thinking about how much of a writer’s life is spent waiting – waiting to hear about journal submissions, funding grants, applications for writing retreats or waiting to get a book accepted for publication – and, at times, all this waiting makes it hard to ‘keep the faith’. Over the past few years, I’ve seen everyone in my online writing group get published, which is wonderfully exciting, but sometimes I wonder how much longer I will need to wait – and yes, I’m aware the tone of this post is very different to my manic rant from last month. Writers must seem a little erratic to other people – one minute we’re up, the next we’re down, and our circumstances can change so quickly. Earlier this week, my dear friend Edwina Shaw heard that her book Thrill Seekers has been shortlisted for the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing, which is part of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. This is a dream come true for Edwina, and a prestigious validation of her many years of hard work on the manuscript. One of Edwina’s oft-repeated sayings is: ‘Successful writers are the ones who don’t give up,’ and making it onto the shortlist has proven Edwina’s words to be true. Go Edwina! I’ve also just seen the fabulous cover of Ghost Wife – a memoir written by another friend, Michelle Dicinoski, which Black Inc. is publishing in February next year, and I have to admit I’m envious.

The other day I emailed Anne Reilly, the HarperCollins editor I first met at Varuna in April 2011, and asked her if I should be concerned about how long it has taken me to prepare my manuscript for submission to HarperCollins and whether I should try and hasten the rest of the process. As always, Anne’s reply was prompt and reassuring. She wrote: ‘It has necessarily taken a while; writing is like that. Don’t be worried. Some people whiz through quickly; they are exceptions.’ And so I will wait a little while longer. My time will come, and although I haven’t yet published a book, my writing has attracted some wonderful opportunities and I am very fortunate. The latest news is that I’ve been awarded another residency at Bundanon next year – where I will stay in the Writer’s Cottage and work on my next project, ‘The Bakery Stories’, while the cows and kangaroos wander past the window. What a blessing, and a welcome reminder to ‘keep the faith’. Until next time…


  1. Your turn next Helena! Can’t wait for your first launch. Imagine how much you’re going to cry the day you get that phone call from a publisher wanting to sign your books! You’ll flood Armidale. And you know what the great thing about all thsi waiting is? How much MORE we treasure our success wehn it comes. We know how hard we’ve worked adn that we deserve it.
    And your writing is EXCELLENT! Teh world will sit up and notice.
    Alos, memoir, the style you write takes all this time becuase you ahvet o wait for life to provide the narrative arc, to give you your conclusion! Fiction writers can just make that stuff up.

  2. Hi Helena – nice to read this post – Envy resonates with me though – i received my email of un success from bundanon the other day and I was disappointed, I need a keep the faith indicator right now. I was thinking about the chats Kaz, you and I would have earlier in the year, such great times, it was Kaz though who said she never wasted more than half an hour of dissappoinent on a rejection before moving On to the next project – such an optimist she was. My project is setting up house now and nurturing my roots, hopefully in preparation for new work.

    1. Oh, that’s a shame about your application, Madeleine. Yes, they were great times, especially that al fresco meal on Arthur’s verandah, dancing in the studio 🙂 … and the stampeding bull. Thanks for reminding me about Kaz’s wise advice … no more than half an hour of disappointment for me in future. Happy settling in to your new house, and keep the faith! xx H

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