Right now is my absolute favourite time of the year. I love it. Whilst people around me are bemoaning the passing of summer and the return to school runs, stews and soggy weather, I’m relishing the absence of barbecues, bared flesh and general all round joviality. I’m getting out the hot water bottle (actually I never put it away), readying the grate and closing the curtains on the world earlier and earlier each evening. What bliss.
To me, despite the fading light, Autumn always feels like a new beginning. Perhaps it’s because it’s the start of the academic year and anyone with children knows how this acts as a marker for change: much more so than the start of a new calendar year. For me, ever since I was a child, September has seemed like a time to gather my bearings and look to the future.
Amongst other things, I’m naturally taking stock of my writing. I think we all pretty much know where I am with that: I’m looking for an agent. So… how’s that going?
Although I’ve had my little moans about agents along the way, by and large I’ve found they do get back to you eventually and they often have some nice things to say. I’ve been circumspect in my submissions in that I’ve kept the numbers small. This means I can use the feedback received along the way to improve my submission and I still have many more avenues to explore. I try, of course, to target those agents to whom I think my work will appeal. It’s not always easy to tell. I’ve misfired a couple of times. I should have known better, for example, than to send it to an agent who spends all her time tweeting about cuddly kittens and handbags.
I’ve had some success with competitions. The opening eight thousand words were shortlisted for an agent-run competition. And the first page of my novel came first, as in actually won, the Words with Jam First Page prize. If you’d like a sneak preview of the opening of my book, it appears on their website here. (You’ll see what I mean about kittens and handbags).
Which all points to me thinking that I’m doing okay. Things are generally heading in a positive direction. I’m still in with a chance.
And now that the clamour of summer is dying down, I can enjoy getting on with the next novel without the need for ear plugs and Piriton. Yay!