Huge decisions and the highs and lows of writing.

Posted by kate Poels on Sunday, June 10, 2018
I have noticed how often social media and blogs are filled with the positive aspects of the life of a children's author.  Agent signings, book deals, places in various charts, award shortlists or big wins, that sort of thing.
This is brilliant to read and I find it hugely uplifting and cheering but also not all that realistic.  For every author who has achieved these great things there have been struggles along the way.  Rejection letters, missing out on the shortlists and awards then there are the long waits for feedback. 
Areas of low as well as the areas of high. 
Twitter would be a pretty depressing place if every writer posted every rejection they received, or pictures of themselves at home in their PJs watching Eastenders whilst friends and colleagues attend award ceremonies for prizes they themselves have been overlooked for.  But this side of the publishing world is just as real as the shiny side we see so often.
Each debut book that we excitedly cheer for and support has been years coming for that author.  The journey is long and often winding and complicated but the joy at the end result is the thing we see.  It has been hard earned in most cases and very well deserved.
So here it is from me -  a not-quite-yet author.  I am now in a position of feeling pretty certain I will have my name on a published book in the future (I am sorry if that sounds a bit 'up myself' to quote my daughter, but the past 7 years have taught me a lot and I have had just enough success and interest to be able to say this with my head held high-ish) but I am still on my winding and sometimes tricky pathway to debut success.
Last month I was shortlisted for a writing prize.  Huge high. 
But I didn't win. Bit of a dip.
Then I made a momentous decision and decided to leave my lovely agent. Big low.  
I made the most difficult and nerve- wracking decision so far of my career and called Jo to explain that, whilst I really admire her and I still think she's a fantastic agent, I wasn't sure we were compatible.  There were several reasons I came to this conclusion and it was a very difficult decision to make but when we talked through things together it was clear that it was the right choice for both of us.  Happily we are still on very good terms and were honestly and warmly able to wish each other well and promise to keep in touch.  Something that I treasure as I know not all agent/author splits end this amicably.
And so once again I am an unagented author - low point. 
Luckily the next high was not far away as another agent is already reading 3 of my middle grade manuscripts and a handful of my picture books.  So I am keeping my fingers crossed she likes what she sees.  But if not then I will pick myself up and begin the process of agent hunting again.
Then, two days ago, I received feedback from Stripes publisher about the chapters and synopsis of mine they had shortlisted.  The feedback was amazing and so much better than I had expected.  All of a sudden I have been gifted another writing boost and my graph line is heading up again!  
I guess the point of this blog is to say that I am not lying when I say I adore to read about the success of other writers, especially friends of mine.  They give all of us hope and encouragement and something to strive for.
But it is also important to remember that the road is not quick nor easy and that when the lows come they are just part of the process.  A process that has more surprises around the corner and the next one might be just the thing you have been waiting for.