Spending the $50million

I’m sure you’re familiar with that marvelous feeling, after you have bought a lotto ticket but before the draw, where the possibility of winning the $50 million dollars is so real and tangible you can taste it. When you are making lists in your head, spending your winnings, deciding which holidays to go on, which homes to buy, which magnanimous donations you will be making.

I am living the writers equivalent right now.

I have written the stories, entered the competitions and between now and the time the long lists are announced I can indulge in daydreams about winning the prize. In reality, I probably have more chance of winning the lotto than one of the many literary prizes I have entered, but until the lists are announced anything is possible. And what are we as writers, if not able to visualise a future with written-to-order happy endings, specifically designed to meet our own requirements for maximum pleasure?

The literary equivalent of spending of the $50 million prize is dreaming about your story as a physical book. It is seeing your name in print. It is imagining yourself running your hand over the cover, smelling the fleeting new book scent.

It is imaging your acceptance speech, the welcome cramp in your hand signing books for readers, the pride of seeing your novel in the window of a book shop.

It is imaging a future where you can move from saying I am a writer to I am an author.

The disappointment that comes with seeing the list of names on which yours is missing, is real but blessedly brief. Reality quickly crowds back in. You may spend a day or two deflated, dejected, rejected but then you take a deep breath, swallow that lump away and push forward. Pick up that pen again, keep writing, do it all again.

No one ever actually expects to win the $50 million lotto prize. I don’t expect to actually win any of the writing competitions I have entered.

But I can still dream, and until I hear otherwise, I’m spending the fifty million.

The Question with No Answer

A lot of people lately have been asking ‘how my writing is going?’ They sidle up to me at parties, or over lunch or in the playground at school, and ask with genuine curiosity.

Unless people are following my blogs or subscribed to my articles at WeekendNotes, it would seem that there is a big silence coming from my writing desk. And they would be correct.

Not a lot is happening – nothing to write about, so to speak – hence my absence here recently.

A lot of writing seems to be waiting.

Waiting for inspiration to strike. Waiting for someone to contact me to say one of my many pitches has been accepted. Waiting for the next big thing…

It’s all very passive, and unless you are really motivated, it would be too easy to spend most of your writing life waiting for things to fall into your lap.

At any one time I have multiple articles and book submissions out in the world. I would like to think they’re just about to fall in front of my future editor, someone who will be grabbed by my opening line, who can’t put it down until they get to the very last word, who any minute now will be reaching for the telephone to contact me.

Or perhaps my submissions have already been glanced over, and consigned to the virtual rubbish bin, and the only sign I will get is a beep in my phone indicating that the three month (or six month) ‘waiting’ period is up, and it’s time to submit somewhere else.

A lot of writing is waiting and silence.

But I am not sitting around in a festy glum. Not all the time anyway. I am off to Sydney soon for a masterclass in children’s literature, where I hope to hone one of my stories to a more polished level, so that when I next submit it, I might get that phone call instead of the silence.