A letter to myself regarding writing plans. For the official contest 2019.
First of all please accept my apologies for not writing to you again before now. I can’t believe it’s over ten years since I last encouraged you to make some serious writing plans. Tempus Fugit indeed and a painful reminder that when it comes to something we really want to achieve there is no time like the present. Admittedly the last decade has been a very trying and difficult one for you and I understand that limitations of time and lack of motivation can restrict ambitions. However, you have never stopped writing during this period and not without some success, which is admirable, proving your need to express yourself through writing is something that will never leave you while you have the fingers to type and enough remaining brain cells to think. Writing has brought you some new friends and involved you in several enjoyable activities and groups. It’s obvious you will never be parted from words. I know you will continue to blog, write letters, complete assignments from your writing group, compose your column for the local gazette and review the work of fellow writers as these are things you have always done. You do your utmost not to let others down.
But what about you? We both know the book that has rattled around your brain for years is still a work in progress. Several works in progress actually as I’ve lost count how many times you’ve started it, edited it, rewritten it, discarded it, then started the whole process over again. It’s a real life story you were working on ten years ago and much as you’ve never abandoned the book, it always gets pushed to the back of the shelf or drops to the bottom of your list while you attend to other matters. The story has taken many unexpected twists and turns and continues to develop into a most unusual, dramatic and intriguing tale even with a question mark still hovering over the ending.
Presently you have actually written more of it than ever before and even have the necessary documents to submit to a publisher, so I’m telling you now just do it.
Imagine the future. All those book signings and brilliant reviews. All the prizes, awards and accolades. Travelling our planet while your book is translated into every language and becomes the world’s best selling novel of all time. Spending months in Hollywood as your book becomes a film, then writing your speech for when you receive your Oscar. Years later imagining the statue of yourself outside every famous publishing house and your name engraved forever in every walk of fame, ensuring you will go down in history as one of the greatest authors who ever lived.
Okay, we’ve now proved we can write Fantasy, but let’s look at the reality and all the positives of completing your book. In the autumn of your life we both know nothing would please you more than holding a printed copy of your book in your hands. Imagine feeling its thickness, seeing the colourful cover emblazoned with your name, smelling the heady scent of its freshly printed pages and hearing your inner voice singing ‘ I DID IT.’ (my way)
Can you imagine the smiles on the faces of friends and family who have tried to persuade and encourage you to finish this book? If nothing else this is the year I insist you finish your book. Not just insist, but demand. I can get pretty scary when my demands are ignored and much as I don’t want to pressure or upset you in any way, I’m sure you know it’s a case of now or never. I share your deep inner feeling that this is the most important thing for this year and we both know if nothing else it will be a very cathartic experience to place that final full stop at the end of that last sentence. Or will it be an exclamation mark? Or a question mark?
You know submission to publishers you’ve researched is now within your reach. You know there’s a possibility of it being accepted, even if a very tiny one. You also know that even without that success, self publishing is always an option and it doesn’t really matter if only a few copies are circulated. It is your book, your creation, your story and we both know it’s worthwhile to put it out there for posterity. So let’s make a plan.
For the rest of winter you will fine tune the synopsis, opening chapters and chapter details. In February you will submit these documents to your chosen publisher. By March you will be waiting for a decision, but not getting your hopes up. You will talk to yourself about rejection not being the end of the world and will continue to work on further chapters.
By spring you will probably still be in limbo waiting and knowing you, will be huffing and puffing a bit as you try to remain patient. Carry on taking the story further. It’s likely you’ll receive a decision soon. If it’s an acceptance you can open a bottle of champagne and celebrate, throw a party and walk around in a jubilant daze, but as rejection is far more common you’ll grit your teeth and think again.
Over the summer months you will research other possible publishers and send out the required documents while still working on the book and making sure you don’t allow negativity or failure to enter into the equation. If you don’t keep trying you’ll never progress. I’ll also allow you to take time out to sunbathe, read and enjoy the long, warm evenings as that will help to energise you and erase any doubts left over from winter.
Come autumn you may have heard back from those publishers. More champagne or boxes of tissues to dry those tears? It doesn’t matter. Your book will now be complete and failing all else you will self publish and order enough copies to give every family member and friend a signed gift for Christmas. You’d better purchase a lot of wrapping paper and gift cards in preparation.
By the end of the year I’ll be here with you waiting for whatever lies ahead. I promise I’ll write to you again and no matter how things have panned out I’ll be offering my full support for your next year of plans and ambitions.
Love and Scribbles, Scarlett.
WORD COUNT 1076