On Friday afternoon I received a VERY exciting email from the Romantic Novelists Association to tell me that a space had become available on their prestigious New Writers’ Scheme. (I’d stayed up late on 2nd January to apply, emailed my application at 12.03am – you couldn’t email before 12.02am – and all 250 places had gone by then, which gives you an idea of just how popular it is.)
I know lots of people can write books without needing to be part of any kind of writing group or scheme but – probably because I’m a journalist – I always work best when I have a deadline. So now this means I need to finish one of the four novels I’ve been working on for the past few years by the end of August so that it can be read by a member of the RNA (and you can’t even be a member unless you’re a published author.) And it means I’ll be well on my way to achieving my goals for this year.
The hardest thing now is going to be deciding which of the novels to focus on.
Of course, I know one of the biggest pieces of advice any novelists giving aspiring writers is that you have to love writing and want to create, rather than think about being published. And I do, I really love writing fiction. But even Jane Austen wanted other people to read her books.
My dream is and always has been to be able to walk into an airport and see women taking my books off the shelves. I’m not knocking self-publishing/e-publishing, I know lots of novelists who are making a very good living at it, but that’s not what I want for my books. At least, not at the moment.
And I’m not saying contemporary women’s fiction is the only kind of novel writing I intend doing, either. It’s just that that’s where I want to focus my energies for now.
Perhaps I won’t make it, perhaps I can’t really write romantic fiction at all. We’ll see. But for the time being I’m going to have a very good go.