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  • sarahjmaxwell

Repeat after me...

I am worthy. I will achieve. I believe.

From a writerly point of view, from someone who managed to snag herself a literary agent, I've thought about the 'why'. Why do I have an Agent? After years of querying and rejections, why the dream translated to an Agent’s request to represent me. The answer is multi-layered, but sometimes you need to ignore the obvious to understand the heart of the matter.

There are so many ‘right’ answers. Things you all know and understand—hard-work, attention to detail, persistence, humility, bravery, commitment. Add also, ‘thick skin’, focus, sacrifice. Some writers will need all these things, and more, in plentiful supply. Other writers may strike lucky. They’ve written the right book at the right time. In that sense, JK Rowling was ‘lucky’. Then there are writers who are simply brilliant, and agents and publishers are biting off their hand, but that’s not the case for most of us. Most certainly was not the case for me.

Let’s assume you’ve buckled in for the ride. You want to be a writer, so you write. You find the time despite having a paying job, or studying full-time, despite the children, the parents, the stress of everyday life. If you follow the rules, possess all the attributes I’ve mentioned above and more, it will happen, right? Right?

Not necessarily, because the golden ticket is something else altogether. The hardest thing to come by when you’ve been writing for years and received nothing but rejections.


This is a quality in short supply for most of us. We might have moments where we know we can write, and that what we write is good. It helps having a good support network around us, either in the shape of family and/or friends, or a writer’s group. But ultimately, as we sit at the computer staring at a blank screen, or keeping a finger depressed on the ‘delete’ button, self-belief can be fleeting or even unobtainable.

Other things can chip away at our writing confidence, too. Low self-esteem about the way we look, or how we’ve failed our dependants. We’re not good enough at our job, we’re awkward socially, embarrassed, ashamed, tortured by the demons in our mind. If we’re not able to view ourselves with a positive eye, how on earth can we have faith in our writing?

There’s no quick fix, but if you want it, you need to believe, and to believe, you need to know you are good enough. And then we all live happily ever after, right? Wrong! The journey never ends until it 'ends'. There will ALWAYS be things that threaten to derail you. From another writer's bigger, louder success, to lack of engagement on social media, or bad reviews. You may need to recalibrate your mindset every day to remind yourself: I AM WORTHY. I BELIEVE. I WILL ACHIEVE.

Dream on, dreamers and don't let the b******s get you down!

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