Sunday, 18 October 2009

CHARMS VS SELF-BELIEF



I like to think I'm not superstitious, in the same way I'm not religious, and yet I do like the rituals of both camps, in some ways: I salute lone magpies; I can be quite moved by Mass at Christmas etc. And I have carried/used talismans for special requests: rose quartz to feel more loving, Sheela-na-Gigs for fertility, that kind of thing.

Anyway, while my novel was out doing the rounds of publishers over the years (yes, YEARS) every so often I would sort of pray to some higher power to help it on its way. Then I decided to 'make' a charm in the form of a collage to send positivity to the manuscript of the book as it went from publisher to publisher. (See image above.) That was probably about 3 years ago.

My novel is called You. I placed the title of the novel in a lovely blue sky, sitting on cloud 9. The arrows were to force it up and up above the real world into the stratosphere of the publishing world. It was a picture of positivity.

And still the rejections came. Lovely rejections, saying all sorts of nice things: some of them I would have been happy with as a review of the novel. But they were saying no, nonetheless. Still, I never lost faith in my novel - I felt it was good and that it worked, despite some publishers' reservations. My feeling was that it needed the right editor - someone who understood it and would champion it. I always thought that person would be a woman.

This year, at last, my novel found the right editor; she is the one who finally decided to take a chance. You will be published by the wonderful publishing house New Island in 2010.

Did my picture-talisman, perched on the sitting-room cabinet work? Well, no and yes. No, in that only dogged determination and self-belief will keep a rejected book being sent back out. Yes, in that seeing the picture reminded me daily not to lose faith and to keep on trying. The moral of the story for wannabe writers? Never give up.

24 comments:

Vanessa Gebbie said...

I always wanted lots of kids, and although I adore my eldest son, as he got older and older, was sad no brother or sister appeared.
In late 1990 I visited Glastonbury, and there is a stone in the grounds of the abbey in the shape of an egg... a huge thing. Legend has it (apparently) if a woman who wants a child walks three times round the boulder, ... you know the thing. Cor did I feel daft.
.
By Feb 1991 I was pregnant. We have a 14 year gap between the boys.
Course there is an 'explanation'. Good old scientists. Then there is the stone.
.

whereimbloggingfrom said...

That's SO exciting! Well done Nuala, so glad your determination paid off! How many years was it?

BarbaraS said...

You got there in the end - yay! Is there any talent you haven't got tucked away there.

Seriously tho' it's what I keep telling my Saturday class, eighty per cent of it is sheer perseverance. And you have that in spades. Congrats on getting it into NI, they're a lovely publisher.

Pure fiction said...

Thanks for the heartening story and big congratulations on One.
My own novel has been doing the rounds of the publishers for the last 12 months and is receiving the loveliest, kindest rejections ever. But they are still rejections. Sigh.
I love the idea of your collage - might just try something similar myself.

Emerging Writer said...

That's wonderful news. And great advice. Never give up. As they said in Flashdance
When you give up your dream, you die.

Deep. I'm off for a cup of tea...

Anti-Laureate said...

I'm intrigued by all the "nines". Are they just lucky number nines or allusions to YOU's content?

Rachel Fenton said...

That's a real morale booster (apart from the "years" bit - v. depressing)...onwards and upwards then! :)

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Hi V, I have huge gaps between my kids too and I resorted to all sorts, including science. But I also wrote a fertility charm poem called...The Juno Charm!

Eimear - I finished writing the novel in late 2004.

Barbara - as we both know, there are LOTS of v talented writers who don't get anywhere becasue they don't push themselves. Nobody comes a-knocking!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Pure Fiction - 12 months sounds so short to me!! Your book just needs to find that one editor who gets what you do. Good luck!

EW - thanks. I thinkwhen you are in it for the long haul, you're in it for the long haul, you know? THere's no question of giving up in a sense, eventhough it can be disheartening at times.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Anti- Laureate - the idea was that the book would land on cloud 9 only, not the other clouds with 9's in them. Nothing to do with the book!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Rachel - indeedy!
Typically, I can't wait to see what they do with the cover. I have absolutley no fixed idea in my head. Though it may include water as the river is HUGE in the book.

Tania Hershman said...

N - this is a wonderful post, partly because it chimes with what I was just writing about the meeting between the Art world and the writing world. I love your talisman. Whatever it did, it kept you going, it kept you sending it out, not giving up. It did what it needed to do so you could do what you needed to do - which is to say, you really did it all! Congratulations, can't wait to read you.

Ossian said...

brilliant, well done. knowing absolutely nothing about the book other than what you've said here, there will be no shortage of ideas for the cover and it will be gorgeous, no doubt at all.

Anna May said...

Nuala, your book news is so thrilling and all credit to you for not giving up when it must have seemed by far the easiest option.
And your charm collage surely clinched the deal !
Anna May x

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Tania - thanks. Sometimes we need props, right? And I'll go with anything to make me feel hopfeul ;-)

Ossian - what is really exciting (having worked with v small publisers until now) is that New Island have a dedicated design person and she is supposed to be brilliant. I don't get a say on the cover, but they will run several designs past me. I can't wait!

Anna May - thank you. I don't think giving up was ever an option, I just had to learn patience. Difficult for me!

Jennifer Matthews said...

Congratulations!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Thanks Jen! Thank YOU for the great review of Nude.

OSLO said...

Well I was just going to thank you for an inspiring post as I keep writing, wondering if I'm deluding myself about the chance of ever getting the darn book published. Then I read Vanessa's comment which is also so heartening. Two wonderful tales of perseverance and why one shouldn't give up hope - or be averse to the use of circling stones or creating inspirational images to help one along the way.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Yes, Johanna, anything that helps! My uncle who is 88 is always praying for us. He doesn't know if it helps, he says, but he also says it can do no harm. So that's maybe a good philosophy regarding charms, too.

Niamh Griffin said...

That's great news:) Long time to wait but so so worth it! Good luck with the next steps in the process!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Thanks Niamh. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into the editing etc. I love all that.

minniebeaniste said...

Hello, Nuala - thank you for your lovely comment + contribution to mine. Glad to 'meet' you.
This is a wonderful post! I admire your tenacity, + the generous way you share it in a way that encourages others. Love the collage, also, + the point that you were, rightly, using it to move things forward & find some form of alternative fulfilment. Bet looking at it gives you even more pleasure from now on!
'Chapeau! Au top!' for the publishing deal. May it be a great success - & you may be sure I'll be looking out for the title. Look forward to reading it + more of your blog.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Thanks a million, Minniebeaniste. I found you through Vanessa Gebbie. Thanks for your lovely remarks. The novel deal is a bit surreal - you wait and wait and wait and suddenly - yipee!!
Looking forward to keeping up with you at yours. N x

lane7 said...

Hey Nuala

Well done, last to hear the news, it seems...

Lane

ps Want to add one more stop to the tour? if yes email me