It’s not that I’m not sympathetic. I haven’t had much luck with my writing so far either, but maybe it’s because I haven’t tried hard enough.
I love writers, and I know several of them. I know one or two who make a tidy living out of the words they put on paper, I’m married to one of them, for goodness sake, and I know lots of amateur writers. Too many of them are wannabes.
Don’t call yourself an aspiring writer; ‘aspiring’ means ‘directing one’s hopes towards’. There’s no point directing anything at writing, except for a lot of time and effort because nothing else will get it done. Be a writer, and when you’ve written the best book or short story or poem that you are capable of writing, you’d better become a really good marketer or PR person.
That’s what I’m working on, right now: finding a way to get the work out there to the audience.
There is no point learning to do this bit of the job until you’ve done the other bit. Yes, I’ve got this blog, and yes I’ve got Twitter, and yes, I do advertise them and try to get people to take an interest, and yes, once in a while Susan Hill or Ian Rankin or Sarah Pinborough will talk to me over the waves, and that’s often fun.
My point is this, what are you trying to do when you write a blog or spend every spare minute on Twitter when you haven’t finished that book yet?
I wrote “Naming Names” almost three years ago. The first couple of chapters were on Authonomy for a while, where I worked pretty hard to get it noticed, and it received some very good attention, and some not so good. I persuaded some of my writer friends to read it and listened to their feedback. I sent it out to agents, although, I realise now that I didn’t necessarily choose them carefully enough, and, finally, I entered it for a writing competition. Only when I was shortlisted for the Mslexia prize did I think about beginning a web presence for myself, because, do you know what? I was busy writing!
I’m still busy writing, and if you really mean it, if you aspire to be published, and you've got something new or interesting or important to say, or even a new, interesting, important way to say something, then you should be writing too.