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On Finding Success As A Writer, by Jenn J Mcleod

House for all Seasons by Jenn J McLeod - Australian novel

John Farnham once sang, One Is the Loneliest Number. A writer will disagree. For an author the number ‘one’ is not lonely at all. Being #1 is the ultimate: #1 bestselling author, #1 ranking on Amazon, etc.

Some authors will find world domination and many #1′s during their careers. For the rest of us this business is less Lucky, Lucky, Lucky and more Workin’ 9 to 5. Despite the rapidly changing publishing game there’s probably only room for one J.K. Rowling and one E.L. James in a lifetime (I hope I’m wrong) which means turning your passion into a career will not make you famous or rich, so don’t let either be your motivation. (As my character Maggie says to her son in Simmering Season, “you can find fame by doing all the wrong things”.) Rather than fame and fortune, chase your dream because the very thought of no longer dreaming it drags the wind from your sails and renders you a lifeless wreck.

Success should be your own measure. I believe, as writers, we should be obsessed with words, not numbers. Yes, the numbers are important, but statistics like number of books published, advances offered, Amazon rankings, books sold and Facebook Likes should not be your focus. Let your passion for storytelling and words be your motivation (and be reflected in the quality of your product) and those all-important numbers follow.

J.K. Rowling says of getting published that it’s hard work and luck, and that the first often leads to the second.

My final thoughts are these:

Believe. Be brave. Be businesslike.

Think big. Dream. Work hard. Toughen up.

Be committed. Be kind to yourself. Be generous to others. I once heard someone say: “No author ever hurt their career by being generous to another author”. Live by that and karma will take care of you.

Keep trying. I know many writers have heard the following things before, but there is a message in them:

  • 12 publishing houses rejected The Philosopher’s Stone. A year later J.K. Rowling was finally given the green light (and a £1500 advance)
  • Gertrude Stein submitted poems for 22 years before having one accepted.
  • Anne Frank’s diary had 15 rejections.
  • Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind faced rejection 38 times.
  • I gave up counting after 45 rejections from publishers and agents before deciding I needed to change tack and try something different.

I never gave up, even though the publishing dream is an emotional rollercoaster. Although there are lots of troughs, the peaks sure are sweet – none sweeter than when you get to write two words: THE END, a writer’s silent victory squeal.

In fact, that’s THE END from me now. Having come to the end of my 12 months of contributions to Writing Novels in Australia, I’m going to get busy writing more books. As of October, I have a four book deal with Simon & Schuster!

Thanks for the memories – especially everyone who commented and shared posts. I hope it was all a little more interesting than watching paint dry.

I’ll be blogging lots more in the coming months. Feel free to follow my personal blog so you won’t miss out.

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Jenn J McLeod’s author website: www.jennjmcleod.com

Jenn J McLeod’s bio page

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House for all Seasons by Jenn J McLeod     A Distant LandBurning LiesThe Fragment of DreamsThe Fortunes of Ruby WhiteThe Russian Tapestry by Banafsheh Serov

Writing Novels in Australia
www.writingnovelsinaustralia.com

31 Comments Post a comment
  1. And merry Christmas. Thx Steve Rossiter for the opportunity and to my fellow bloggers of 2013 a thx for your support and for sharing the love.

    December 8, 2013
    • Thank you, Jenn, for being a monthly contributor for 2013. :)

      As can be seen from all the comments below, people have enjoyed reading your posts. Good luck for 2014 and for the release of ‘Simmering Season’ in a few months.

      December 11, 2013
      • Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons #

        And well done to you, too, Steve. Hope to meet you one day! Cheers.

        December 11, 2013
  2. Thanks for the post Jenn. I’ve put your final thoughts on a sticky note on my Desktop. All the best with your writing. :)

    December 8, 2013
  3. Another great post, Jenn. And congratulations on your four book deal!! (I feel two exclamations are warranted). All the best. :-)

    December 8, 2013
    • LOL, yes, Rowena, I do believe there were a few exclamation marks in my silent response when my publisher called!!! Thank you for being a lovely supporter here and a fabulous Facebook friend with such interesting post.

      December 9, 2013
  4. Lovely post Jenn … and four book deal? Zowie!!!!

    December 8, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons #

      Thank you for Zowie, Jen, and for spreading the love on FB too.

      December 9, 2013
  5. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts, Jenn. Sorry to hear they have come to an end, but you have other things to be doing now!

    December 8, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons #

      I do, Kerrie and catching up with you in August will be a highlight next year. Back to your writing!!

      December 9, 2013
  6. I’ve enjoyed these writing posts all year Jenn. They’re always honest and from the heart.
    Cheers
    Lily M

    December 8, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons #

      Oops! Posted reply in the wrong spozzie! See below.

      December 9, 2013
  7. alison1000 #

    Congrats, Jenn. What a great note to finish on!

    December 9, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons #

      Thx Alison. it has been a great experience, especially getting to know other authors, like yourself. What a bonus!

      December 9, 2013
  8. Squee! Four-book deal!!!! Go girl! Brilliant and very deserved! X

    December 9, 2013
  9. Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons #

    Speaking of hearts, Lily Malone, you are a sweetheart and destined for big things. I hope people fall in love with Fairway to Heaven, despite that four letter word starting with ‘G’ and ending in ‘olf’. :)

    December 9, 2013
  10. Great advice Jenn. Look forward to reading more of your posts in 2014.

    December 9, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons #

      Thx Pamela. And I am looking forward to reading Essie’s Way. Hope book two is going gang busters.

      December 10, 2013
  11. marlish glorie #

    Many thanks for this and numerous other great posts, Jenn!

    December 9, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons #

      My pleasure. it has been fun and educational for me, too. Plus I have made lovely new online friends. Merry Christmas.

      December 10, 2013
  12. Great blog post Jenn. Wise words from a wise woman. You are an inspiration to all of us un-published authors. My mantra for 2014 – ‘Dream big and never give up’.

    December 9, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons #

      “And get myself a profile pic happening” Shannon Garner! Dream big, never give up, and start thinking like an author! ;) I am looking forward to your 2014 as much as you are.

      December 10, 2013
  13. Another wonderful post, Jenn. Mega congrats on your four book contract – that means many more rich, vibrant stories to keep me company in the years to come.

    Have enjoyed your posts this year and look forward to many more on your own site!! Merry Christmas to you and the rest of the crew at Wagtails :-)

    December 9, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons #

      Thank you for being such a great supporter, Helene, and a friend and confidante and inspiration. Phew! Heavy load. I hope we are reading each other until we are old and grey!

      December 10, 2013
  14. Reblogged this on Inside My Worlds: R.L.Sharpe.

    December 9, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons #

      Thx for the re-blog and all the best with your writing. I noticed on your blog you call yourself a storyteller. Perfect! That was a light bulb moment for me – the day I stopped trying to be a writer and told myself I was a storyteller. Nicole Alexander was responsible for that moment! All the best.

      December 10, 2013
      • Thank you, it was very inspirational so I just had to share it :)

        December 10, 2013
  15. donaldmcmiken #

    Pretty damn good read. And a four-book deal. What a gal!!!!

    January 1, 2014
    • Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons #

      Hey, Donald, thank you and all the best for 2014. I look forward to your posts.

      January 1, 2014

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  1. Month In Review (December 2013) | Writing Novels in Australia

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