Your first rejection?

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Feature image from MANUSCRAPPED

By Jacob Henwood.

What changes after your first rejection?

Lots of stuff. It is harrowing. It is literally one of the hardest literary things you are ever going to experience. It is like eating carob, but it never ends.   Everything you ever submit ever again gets automatically rejected. Forever. You just get the one go.

No-one ever tells you that until it’s too late.

No.  It is not like eating carob at all. It’s fine. It’s better than fine. It’s really good!

There are lots of reasons why it is good: you can learn about your writing; you get to practice the submission process; and you get the chance to make it better.

I got some fantastic feedback from people who felt absolutely no obligation to make me feel better about myself and in all likelihood were not involved in my upbringing. Maybe they were; the process was anonymous.

The best part though was that the moment the submission went through a wall collapsed. Not a real one. Submitting stories does not compromise the structural integrity of buildings. Imagine if it did. That would be bad. Luckily, it was a metaphorical wall. I had never noticed it before, but when it was gone a lot of things started to make sense.

What I realised as I stood amongst the debris was that it really didn’t matter if I got rejected. Lots of writers have been rejected. That isn’t news. It doesn’t matter to me and my writing. It will change my writing, because everything should change my writing.

It doesn’t mean that the story I am trying to tell isn’t a story worth telling. It means that I haven’t conveyed that yet.  Perhaps I don’t have the skills, or the experience to do that yet. No biggie. I’ll keep going. I will learn, redraft, and submit again.  I will probably be rejected again. When that happens, I will keep going.

There is a question that you should ask yourself. Why do you write? I write because I love the process, and I love books, and I love telling stories. I cannot think of anything that I would rather do with my time. When I look at that story now, I can see very clearly that I gnawed at the story instead of polishing it. That is a good thing, because now I get to make it better. I get to go back to what I love doing, and make it tighter, and make it cleaner, and make it with the best words with which I am able. Words are the wizard’s bananas, and writing them is the complete opposite of eating carob.

What is Holding You Back?

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“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”  ― C. JoyBell C.

A Fear of Success.

Have you ever heard of this?  Apparently I have it.  I was sitting around last night doing a funny test online, when I suddenly found out that I have a fear of Success.  The following is my result.

Your Result:

Fear of Success

You’re fairly confident in your abilities, but you balk at the pressure of maintaining success once you have it. You know that your achievements will breed higher expectations, and you worry that you won’t be able to meet them. You may even be experiencing what psychologists call impostor syndrome, the fear that those around you will discover you’re not really as talented or competent as they think. People who fear success often credit their achievements to circumstances rather than to their talent and other assets. The key for these people is to accept responsibility for their accomplishments.

 It turns out a fear of success is more complicated and difficult to cure than a fear of failure.

Being a failure is easy.  When you fail, everyone is nice to you, even if they think you’re stupid.  Failing is comfortable.  Your life will not change in any way if you try something new and fail.  When you fail, everything will stays the same.  Everyone rallies around the person who can’t get his or her shit together.  When you are successful, people watch you, wait for you to trip up, scrutinize your spelling and no one will worry about you.  Successful people essentially get left out of the community circle.  Successful people are the ones who are called upon to help others, give advice, money, information, time, services for free…

I have these ideas about success that I have just made up -Pooof! – From nowhere!  Yes, I defiantly have a fear of Success, as you can see.  I made all of that up.  I don’t know what it is like to be successful and I won’t know until I get over this stupid little fear I have.  I am worried about I know nothing about.  A fear of success is far worse than a fear of failure.

‘Procrastination is the fear of success.’ Chinese fortune cookie

These are the Fears

I will have to out-do my success with more success?  Once you get successful you need to remain that success, right?  Of course – So if this next project works, then I am going to have to come up with another better project after that or I’ll be just like Harper Lee and everyone will think my more famous and more consistently successful friend wrote my dam book for me.

Successful people are exposed, criticized? Successful people are often in the public eye or being recognised for great things they have done.  Successful people are the ones that everyone else wants to bring down.   You have done it yourself.  I have.  I have looked at a successful person and been certain that I would have made a far better outfit choice or I would have stood differently. ‘How did she pick that dress I’m mean really?

Success will transform me into someone else?  My friends wont like me anymore because I will be different.  I am scared of becoming someone else – My partner fell in love with me when I was a very unorganized, slightly alcoholic, Art School student who never finished any paintings.  He loves me for who I am right now – Not who I will be when I am successful…Ekk

When there is any kind of change, there is always a fear of loosing who you are and what you have.  Instead os thinking as a change as a moving away from yourself, try to think of a change as you gaining more of yourself.  Image you are adding onto your personality, your skills, your achievements – not away from who you are.  You will still be the same person, just with new skills.

The truth is that being successful is probably easier than you think – For starters, you will have more money (If you haven’t picked it up already, I am talking about ‘Career Success’ not relationships or family crap)

If you can get by with not much money, as you have been so so long (as a writer I am guessing)  then think of how easy it will become once you start getting paid more or get publishing in heaps of journals.  J.K Rowling said it very well in her interview with Oprah.  Once she became a successful writer, she realised that she could throw money are her writing problems.  It was a relief for her to realise that she did not have to put up with writing at her kitchen table amidst the noise and mess of her home life.

So what can you do?

The Cure to A Fear of Success – Oprah –

Many of my clients find this simple exercise helpful: Think of a recent success—say, a new account that you won. Now make a list of the skills and qualities you drew on to win it—determination, intelligence, creativity, charm.… (If you’re struggling, ask a friend for help; others can often see your assets more clearly than you can.) Make this exercise a habit each time something goes well at work. Once you begin to see your strengths in action every day, you will recognize that you are, in fact, well-equipped to tackle whatever challenges lie ahead.

If none of that works – Just remember that you are only brave when you are doing something that scares the shit out of you.  Life is too short for first world problems …

Packing for the Festival

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emerging writer, emerging writers, how to become a writer, become a writer, emerging writers festival, writing tips,1. Foam Roller

This foam roller is particularly good for traveling since my partner cut the dam thing in half with a bread knife.  Note the damaged, un-even end.  It is now the perfect size to twist into my carry-on luggage.

I am about to sound like the ‘nerds guide to travel’ but with so much time sitting during the festival, I am concerned I will end up looking (and feeling) like a hunch back.  I am certain that Quasimodo was an Emerging Writer without a foam roller before he headed up into that bell tower.

This is a very light weight (and small) foam roller that will be perfect for stretching out after being tucked up in a little lecture chair.

If you don’t have a roller or stretching routine, make sure you are least wiggle around in your seat every now and again.


emerging writer, emerging writers, how to become a writer, become a writer, emerging writers festival, writing tips,2. Various Sized Diaries & Notebooks

I find laptops too loud and cumbersome while I am sitting in on panel events.  Call me old fashioned but I love the sound of the perfect pen (See 11) with a sharp little point and thin flowing ink, making those hushed little scratches in my notebooks.

Included in my pile is a travel size 2014 Diary, a plain black moleskin journal – lined, an Alice in Wonderland sketch book – un lined, and a perforated moleskin sketch pad.  I think there are also a few envelopes in that pile.


emerging writer, emerging writers, how to become a writer, become a writer, emerging writers festival, writing tips,3.Takeaway Keep Cup

So many coffees… So little wastage.

Writers Festivals are all about the coffee right?  Oh and the books of course.  This Keep Cup is from my favourite cafe in town and will be the perfect reminder of home while I’m away.  Thanks Pheobe.

I think these cups may have gone out of fashion in the last 6 months, but I have hung on dearly.  They are only really environmentally friendly if you keep using them and don’t let them end up in the rubbish because they aren’t cool any more.

Maybe we can try and bring them back into fashion…


emerging writer, emerging writers, how to become a writer, become a writer, emerging writers festival, writing tips,4. Book Plates

Writing Festivals a known to be filled with Emerging & Established Writers flogging their wears for all to come and purchase.  After you fall in love with a a writer during a great workshop presentation, you tend to go buy their book.

No-one ever thinks they are going to buy as many books as they do.  But remember writers – They are all tax deductible (See 5).

These book plates are a cute way to keep track of your growing library helping you remember where and when you brought a book.

I am taking 20 book plates to Melbourne for 6 days – that’s 3 and a 1/3 books every day – Watch out merchandise people!


emerging writer, emerging writers, how to become a writer, become a writer, emerging writers festival, writing tips,5.  Bull Dog Clips

Why am I taking a huge stack of bull dog clips to the Emerging Writers Festival?  Well my question to you is, why aren’t you?

These tiny little clasps of genius are for all my receipts!

Sound crazy?  Well you are crazy if you are an emerging writer and you are not claiming books and event tickets on your tax.  You know it’s true.

I keep a couple of these bull dog clips in my hand bag and purse when I travel because I know I will loose all those little bits of paper.  If you don’t loose them, they end up scrunched in the bottom of your bag until you toss them all away.

How many reciepts have you kept from books you have brought, pens, high lighters & note books?  How many times have you printed off festival tickets to claim in June on your tax? Having a system to keep all those receipts from flinging out of your bag will mean you will probably get them back to your house in one piece.  Clip them together and send them to your tax man!

emerging writer, emerging writers, how to become a writer, become a writer, emerging writers festival, writing tips,6. Myki Travel Card

I found this in my wallet.

After searching my office for two days and finding Indonesian money, Singaporean dollars and a map of Mexico City; I found it in my wallet!

This Myki card is really only relevant to The Emerging Writers Festival in Melbourne, but I suggest you get your hands on one, even if you’re only in town for one day.  That way, you have a reason to come back next year.


emerging writer, emerging writers, how to become a writer, become a writer, emerging writers festival, writing tips,7. A Winter Scarf

Before heading off to any Writing Festival – Check the weather.  This morning I looked up the weather forecast for Melbourne for the next few days and saw it was going to be a little nippy.

This 3 meter long white knit scarf twists up into a tiny little ball, fitting easily into my case.  When it unrolls, I can wrap it round my neck 10 times!

Thanks Mum! x


emerging writer, emerging writers, how to become a writer, become a writer, emerging writers festival, writing tips,8. Fingerless Blogging Mittens

Again with the cold weather of Melbourne – See above.

These fingerless ‘blogging mittens’ are made for typing in the cold Melbourne weather.  These were a present from my sister, but I am sure there are plenty of shops that sell lots of mitten like items.

Gloves are great but it is hard to type with them on, and you certainly can’t use a smart phone or hold a pen.


emerging writer, emerging writers, how to become a writer, become a writer, emerging writers festival, writing tips,9. Red Lip Stick

In preparation for my travels, I Googled ‘Melbourne Hipster’ to make sure I had everything I needed to blend into the crowd.  Red lips are in!

You may not need to pack red lipstick for your next writing festival, but I certainly recommend googling the place you are going to visit to make sure you adhere to the social customs of the city.  When in Rome.

Look out for me.  Ill be the one with red lipstick all over the edge of my Keep Cup!


emerging writer, emerging writers, how to become a writer, become a writer, emerging writers festival, burial rites cover,writing tips,10. A Copy of your favourite Author’s Book

This is an important one, especially if you know your favourite authors is going to be at the festival you’re about to attend.

I happen to know that Hannah Kent will be featured at the Emerging Writers Festival 2014.  She may even be one of the festival ambassadors?

While I have already read the book, it might seem like an unnessecary weight to take on the plane but in case I do meet that fine literary author, she might just sign it for me – You never know!


emerging writer, emerging writers, how to become a writer, become a writer, emerging writers festival, writing tips,11. New Pens

Are you superstitious about your pens?

I have a favourite brand I always buy.  I don’t lend these pens to people.  I have two at a time, a red and a black.  For special occasions I buy myself brand new ones!  You don’t want them to run out at crucial moments.

I also would not recommend you be without a pen (Because you are a writer and you will look crazy!) in case you end up getting that signature from Hannah Kent you were after.  Oh wait, that was my plan!


emerging writer, emerging writers, how to become a writer, become a writer, emerging writers festival, writing tips,12. Literature Appreciation Buttons

These buttons speak for themselves.

They are so that people know I care about reading and books.

While wearing these buttons at the festival I will not be confused with any other person in Melbourne who does not think books are sexy.

They will also make me easier to find.  If you see me wearing these about the festival come over and say hi!

iPhone13. iPhone (Smart Phone)

Or Black Berry for Kate  – How else are you going to tweet, Instagram and update your face book status without a smart phone?

I plan on using mine to take selfies, upload them to instagram, hash tag them #ewf14 and see how many likes I get.  But then, isnt that everyones plan really?

No really… I will need this phone for maps, public transport information and accessing all my digital tickets to the events.


Iphone charger14. iPhone Charger

Sounds obvious – You’s be surprised how many times everyone leaves this behind.

And make sure you take it home with you too after the festival.




What are you taking to the Festival?

Do you have a Writing Mentor?

Every Year I Choose Two Writing Mentors

In 2013, I adopted Kate Morton and Michael Ondaatjie as my writing mentors ; you gotta have a boy and a girl.  I read I chose them quickly and without much information on either and then set myself the task of getting acquainted with their work.  I decided that they were going to be my writing mentors for the year.

I had never read any of Kate Morton’s work before.  I had only just heard that she existed as an author from seeing her in my local book store.  I asked for her books for Christmas from my friends and received ‘The Secret Keeper’ as a wonderful surprise.  But this wasn’t just about her books she had published, I learnt all that I could about Kate Morton.  I read interviews with her and watched a couple of Youtube clips she has released.  I started to follow her blog and see if she was on Facebook.  (Gosh, this is sounding really stalky)

I tried to educate myself about Kate Morton as a person and author.  I wanted to know if she studied creative writing and when she published her first work.  While learning about Kate Morton I felt like I was learning about writing and learning about the writing industry.

I had read In the skin of a lion during Four Unit English in high school and am still grateful to my amazing teacher for helping that little class of 6 young girls become women through studying and discussing the most interesting of literary texts she had to work with in the syllabus.  Reading Michael Ondaatjie again after ten years was a sort of rediscovery.  I had read his work so long ago.

Ten years later, as a writer myself, I also found Michael Ondaatjie on Facebook.  I looked at his website and read his wiki  page.  Now, I was interested in much more.  I wanted to know who he was published with and when he started writing full time.  I took him on as a personal mentor without his consent.

In 2013, when I did not know where to turn next, I looked to my un official writing mentors and found inspiration hope, ideas and knowledge.  It is 2014 and it is time to choose two more Writing Mentors.

Why do you need a writing mentor?

Emerging Writers Blog, Hannah Kent

Hannah Kent

Read Outside Your Genre  Choosing Writing Mentors is a great way to start reading outside your chosen genre.  Every writer will always tell you to read as much as possible, but I often don’t know where to start.  Writing Mentors are a good way to make sure that you don’t get stuck reading the same old styles and stories that you have been reading for the last 10 years.

Make Contact with the Community – Once you have chosen your Mentors (if they are still alive) see if you can find them on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere online.  Subscribe to their fan page and follow their publishers and you will be surprised to learn how active they are in the writing community.  Their facebook pages are blipping with updates and comments and events and tours and talks and signings and helpful advice and posts.

Career Role Model While it is very important to read your Mentors work and really engage with their writing, it is also helpful to look at their career.  Your Writing Mentor will probably become your Writing Career Mentor (As they are now notable enough for you to have heard of them, there is probably a lot you can learn)  As writers, we don’t get to see writers in action – But now Writer’s offices are online and you can take a look at what they are up to.

Isolation You are not as isolated as you think you are.

Informs your connection to the writing world Having a writing mentor, whoever you choose, is a good way to learn about publishing, publishing houses, awards, talks and festivals; in fact – everything that is going on in the writing world.  You must stay connected to as many elements as possible.

The Emerging Writers blog, TIm Winton

Tim Winton

My Mentors for 2014 –

This year I chose two Australian authors to be my mentors.

Hannah Kent & Tim Winton.

I have chosen to follow and investigate Australian writers because I was sick of people telling me that the Australian Book industry was crashing and burning.  I have also chosen Australian Writing Mentors because I would like to keep Australian publishers and bookshops open long enough to one day stock my work too.

Here goes, I better get to the book store.

UPDATE – 31st May 2014.

Today I had the most wonderful opportunity to meet one of my 2014 Writing Mentors.  At the Emerging Writers Festival in Melbourne I met Hannah Kent.  What a fantastic experience and what a lovely person.  I am so happy I chose her for 2014.

Get stuck into your draft!! Now!

The Emerging Writer8th of July 2013 –  Ok, so I am back in the book store.  Could not find anywhere to buy nice beans from.  Am going to go bankrupt on lattes and long blacks.

My elephant has been divided up.  I have read the first section.  It was terrible.  I am going to keep going.  I can do this…. For the next two weeks here we go – I have about 6 sections to read through each day – Easy!!

This is going to be my last post till the 22nd of July – Focus.

Ok – Next two weeks there will not be any posts as I aim to work harder than I ever have before to make sure that the manuscript is ready for The Reader.  I am sooo regretting everything I planned all those months ago.  Planning to have another human being ever read my work all feels like a big mistake right now.

Ps.  Those pills next to my florentine are anti psychotic medication.

It’s Never Going to be this Hard Again

The Emerging Writer, Writer, Writing

25 June 2013 – Today I went to the Gym for the first time in my life.  I have walked a lot and done yoga and a few dance classes, but this time I was going to the gym.  I consider myself moderatly fit and assumed I could certainly finish a class that was tailored for a beginner.

You will never hurt again, like you hurt that first time

The Emerging Writer

Tura Gym

What was to come was far beyond my comprehension.  I skipped, jumped, leaped about, squatted and pushed and stepped up on to things to the point where I thought I was going to faint.  I was halfway through a circuit I was expected to do five more times.  I have ever moved my muscles in that sort of way before, never lifted a weight above my head or squatted on a rope.  I collapsed, lying on the floor as the room tilted slightly off and my fingers quivered and shook.

What I realised while I was lying there, heaving my chest up and down, sucking in the hot air of the gym was that this was never ever going to be this hard again.  I had turned up to my first class.  I had come, in my outfit and I have participated.  This was the first time and I was there.  And I will never again have to go through my first time at the gym.  It will never be this difficult again, because I have started.

Remember this as you start to write – Maybe for the first time in your life.

The first time you try it is the most difficult thing ever and every single time you go back to it will get easier.   Your muscles will form a memory, you brain will familiarise itself with the action and you won’t have to look on the map to see where you’re going.  You will never hurt again, like you hurt that first time.


Adding ‘Writer’ to your Facebook Profile

emerging writer, writing, how to write a book, writing a novel, how to become a writer, creative writing ideas, writing tips,

Did you know that your Online Profile does accurately depict you – no matter how much you try to fake it?

If you thought that you were fooling any one with your Facebook profile, think again.

In most online situations you get to pick and choose the information you want to reveal. You get to select the most attractive photos of yourself to post and you can edit and revise your comments before you make them. But…surprisingly, one study discovered that Facebook profiles are actually quite good at conveying your real personality.

And viewers of your profile are very good at accurately reading you from it.

People Can Accurately Judge Your Personality Based on Your Profile

In the study, researchers looked at 236 profiles of 236. The participants also filled out questionnaires designed to measure personality traits. Observers then rated the personalities of the participants based on their online profiles, and these observations were compared to the results of the personality questionnaires. The researchers found that observers were able to get an accurate read on a person’s personality based on their Facebook profile.

Viewers of your profile trust and respect the information you are providing.

People will only ever take you as seriously as you take yourself.

So come on Emerging Writers… Change it the moment you decide to pursue writing full time.  Must be a complete transition.

‘I am petrified but I am going to do it anyway’

The Emerging WriterToday I am Changing my Job to Writer – After a lot of time telling people in my life I am a writer, today I am going to change my occupation on Facebook.  Big Deal!

Ok – I did it.

Oh my god – that was horrible.  I wish I could delete it…

NO!  It is all part of the change.  I need to pull my shit together, no one will even see it, this is for my own wellbeing.

So I did it.  I got such a positive response.  Some of my friends did not even realise I had started writing and sent me texts to ask how I was going.  It’s a great way to let people show they support you.  I have just realized something about Facebook.  You tend to only get two responses on Facebook.  Either people like your work and write something encouraging – OR – they ignore you.  All the people you hate and all the people who hate you, your not friends with and therefore…Don’t reply.

Your task – Log in to Facebook right now and Change Your Job.  

Then let me know how it felt…