Saturday, 20 January 2018

The need for encouragement by Sue Russell

I've been thinking about the ongoing need most of us have for encouragement. I guess as writers we beaver away somewhere - a study if we're lucky, a corner of the kitchen table surrounded by dirty dishes if not, or wherever it is we work - alone, at least in our heads, if not in reality. Especially when we are first setting out on this perilous quest, full of traps and pitfalls and replete with disappointments (I remember them all), we need every shred of back-up and cheering-on. Friends who have faith in us, fellow-writers who like our work even when we are struggling, are invaluable.
Like many others I suspect, I have had moments of asking myself, 'Whyever are you putting yourself through this torment? How can you ever succeed in the current climate/against such competition/ when nobody's heard of you?' It's then that someone telling you that you mustn't give up, your work has value, they like it and one day others will too, can make the difference between slogging on and chucking it all in - even though the impetus to write may not have abated one whit!
I am not in the least bit famous. I never will be, barring a miracle, but that's ok. Of course I would like my books to be read more widely, but that's another matter. However, because there have been those gleams of encouragement along the way, because supportive friends have kept me going, because little by little some people have seemed to like my stories, I have battled on in what often seems like a vacuum, and now  those gleams seem to be (for the moment) becoming a little brighter. Sometimes it takes a long time before any kind of recognition comes your way, and you probably have to be prepared for the long haul.
The noble book club
A couple of months ago one of my piano pupils asked me if I would like to be a guest at a meeting of her book club. Since this meant 8 sales in one go, and 8 people reading my book and presumably being willing to give their opinion, I wasn't going to say no. The eventual meeting was enjoyable and instructive, even if I did come home with a thundering headache. But this was book no. 6, and my pupil has known about my writing and attended some of my launches for 9 years! This is no criticism of her - I am very grateful for her support - but just an example of how sometimes these things take a long time. We've all heard stories of how an author had to wait till book no. 10  - or more - before anyone took notice.
So wherever you are on this mad journey, I'd just say believe in what you are doing, get all the support on offer, avoid the naysayers, be realistic, practise and improve all you can, and keep on keeping on. Meanwhile we can help one another. I'd list tweeting and retweeting, splashing one another's achievements all over facebook and elsewhere, buying or downloading each other's work and faithfully reviewing. No doubt there are other ways, but whatever you can do, it makes all the difference.

The latest book is A Vision of Locusts, published by Instant Apostle and available in the usual places.


  1. So true, Sue. We all need encouragement so desperately. And you are one of the most dedicated encouragers I know 🙂 It's good to think of other writers out there beavering away alongside us. I love the idea of writing on the corner of the kitchen table surrounded by dirty dishes. Am going to try that. Great post x

  2. Well, I've been meaning to download your book for a while now and this lovely post which I enjoyed has just reminded me to do so :) Win win!!