EP. 33 | Yvonne battle-felton on atlantic city

My grandmother’s house in Atlantic City… this white and pink house a block away from the ocean… you just went in and it felt like home. Whenever I’m thinking about writing or where I feel both safe and comfortable enough to create and imagine anything that’s possible… I go back to that place, that house… When I think about my literary home is that house that’s no longer there.

yvonne battle-felton

In this episode, Yvonne brings us all to a place that is important to her writing practice. We all have houses or environments we loved as children and where we left our imagination run wild. Which one is yours?

Connect with Yvonne:

Website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 32 | Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai on Facing Rejection When You Write about a Hard Topic

My novel was rejected by so many publishers because it deals with very horrible topics. It deals with death, with  rape, with war, with agent orange, with mass murder, executions… Of course there’s a sense of hope and lots of love, and family bonds… but people have to confront the horror of all the evil and horror to be able to find kindness and compassion. They have to go through a lot of darkness to see the light and they have to become vulnerable together with my characters. So this book is not a fun read, it’s a serious read. So I think a lot of editors thought they wouldn’t be able to sell it.

NGUYỄN PHAN QUẾ MAI

What to do when you write about hard, complex topics that not everyone will want to read about? Like Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai says in this extract, it’s all about the author’s perseverance.

It’s up to the writer herself or himself to believe in her or his own work… If you believe in your own work you never feel the desperation, because there is a fire that burns inside of you  and keeps you going. You don’t have to depend on other people to tell you that your story is important, because you know it is important.

NGUYỄN PHAN QUẾ MAI

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Finding your inner-strength as a writer to cope with rejection.
  • Understanding that you may be writing about a complicated, hard topic and that may mean it may take you longer to find a publisher.

Connect with Quế Mai:

Website / Twitter Instagram / FaceBook

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 30 | CHARLEY BARNES ON rejections as a first time writer

The one thing that I felt I handled well were all the rejections to the book, but I think the reason why was because I wasn’t yet seriously considering myself as a writer. Rejection felt inevitable.

charley barnes

When Charley Barnes got ready to publish her first-ever novel – Intention, a psychological thriller – she had no expectations whatsoever. In fact, she was the first one surprised to see that she managed to find a publisher in less than a year.

When we start our writing careers, it is not unusual to expect more than acceptances (and it is no wonder, since novel writers have to get through many rejections before landing their first publishing contract). However, you can see this as Charley did: an opportunity to explore different avenues for your book (finding an agent, traditional publishing, indie publishing, etc.) And above all, don’t despair! Every rejection is a step closer to that final acceptance.

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Unpacking rejections as the start of your writing career
  • Having a laid-back attitude towards rejections in writing

Connect with Charley:

Website / Twitter / Instagram

EP. 28 | ROB M FRANCIS ON the rejection limbo

The thing that bothers me most about rejection are the publishers and editors that don’t bother with replying to the writers that have put their heart and soul into something and sent it off… the other thing that is quite frustrating about the experience is that of time. It can take as long as six months or even longer in some occasions to get a rejection. You’re in this kind of weird limbo.

rob m francis

One of the most frustrating parts about sending your writing out is waiting (often many months) before knowing if publishers want to give the work a chance or not. Yes, the publishing industry moves at a glacial pace (since writing the book is the first in a series of long and complex steps to get it on bookshops, especially if you are going the traditional route). But waiting months to hear a rejection (or getting silence as the only answer) is actually a very common experience for all sorts of writers. Welcome to (in Rob’s words) the writing limbo.

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Facing rejection at the start of your writing career (hint: you’ll have to get used to it!)
  • Good practice as an editor handling rejections.

Connect with Rob:

Website / Twitter

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 27 | lisa blower on rejection and class

What I have realised is that publishing is a class issue and a lot of the people reading me are of a different class to what I’m reflecting and certainly the voice I often write in… and so when the rejection comes it really frustrates me because is not the writing they’re rejecting, it’s the class I’m reflecting.

lisa blower

In this episode, Lisa discusses her experience with rejection. By taking a glance at her incredible career (an ample list of prestigious awards, two novels out with prestigious publishers…) one may think she’s not one used to dealing with rejection. But truth is, Lisa’s publishing journey has been a complex one (as it tends to happen to many of us!) with a fair share of rejections.

What is more, Lisa suggests that sometimes, when you write from a perspective that is not mainstream, your writing may get automatically rejected because the gatekeepers can’t see themselves reflected in your stories.

This is an issue that affects many authors in all sorts of genres – read here this sharp article by J K Nemisin. The publishing industry needs to change, so let’s persevere and keep knocking at the doors no matter how many rejections we may face!

Connect with Lisa:

WebsiteTwitter / Instagram

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 26 | yvonne battle-felton on rejection is not about you

Rejection is not about you. Part of it it’s about that piece, that story, that poem, that book. But it’s also about them and what they can and can’t see, and about what they can and can’t market, who they can and can’t target.  

yvonne battle-felton

Perhaps some writers believe that one reaches a certain point in their career when they are established enough and stop receiving rejections – only acceptances, commissions, money and praise come their way! While this may be the dream of many of us, truth is, won’t ever happen. Your writing won’t be loved by absolutely every human being on this Earth.

What is more, and as Yvonne Battle-Felton suggests in this episode, we need to stop taking rejections personally. Getting a short story rejected doesn’t mean being kicked out of the writing community. Doesn’t even mean we are not good writers! Writers get rejected constantly, it’s simply part of the journey.

If you get a rejection letter, see it as a confirmation that you are doing the work you should. And if it is a rejection from a place you love – do like Yvonne – and celebrate!

I’ll always remember the first time I submitted something to The New Yorker and it was rejected and I was like, yeah, I got a rejection from The New Yorker, that’s pretty cool, and I was talking to a really good friend of mine, who is not a writer, and she was like, oh my gosh, what are you gonna do? Are you gonna stop writing? And I’m like, what are you talking about? They don’t send rejections to everybody… this is great!

yvonne battle-felton

Connect with Yvonne:

Website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

Ep. 25 | Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai on Healthy Routines for Writers

[being a writer you need] to take care of yourself… because writing can be really hard… for my writing I deal with topics such as PTSD and trauma and that affects you mentally as well…. Having a daily exercise routine is also important [to support your writing routine]. I practice yoga and go for walks.

NGUYỄN PHAN QUẾ MAI

In this episode, Vietnamese-born author Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai discusses her writing routines, making a particular emphasis on the ways we need to take care of ourselves as writers. In her novel, The Mountains Sing, Quế Mai dealth with complex topics such as war, torture and family trauma; her writing process wasn’t always easy and because of that she was keen on supporting her mental and physical health.

Even if you don’t write about such difficult issues, writing can still be taxing at times. What do you normally do to take care of your physical and mental health in between writing sessions?

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • How a writing routine can help you when writing difficult pieces.
  • Yoga and a writing routine.
  • Taking care of your mental health as a writer.

My ideal writing day would be waking up very early and not having social media when I wake up…  writing in the morning and reading in the afternoon and the evening.

NGUYỄN PHAN QUẾ MAI 

Connect with Quế Mai:

Website / Twitter Instagram / FaceBook

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 23 | CHARLEY BARNES ON using writing time as a reward

There are some days when working on fiction becomes my reward system around getting X amount of jobs done from the day-job list.

charley barnes

When you have to combine your writing career with another job, the usual struggle is to carve the time out to focus on your craft. Most of us will try to start writing before the start of our day job. But what if we did things the other way around?

For crime author and Creative Writing lecturer Charley Barnes, her precious writing time is the reward after a hard day at work. Delaying the ‘pleasure’ (we know it doesn’t always feel like that!) of sitting at the desk to focus on her own fiction projects seems to help her productivity and motivation. Have you ever tried something similar?

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Being a writer and a Creative Writing lecturer
  • Finding motivation to sit down to write after working on your day job

Connect with Charley:

Website / Twitter / Instagram

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 21 | rob m francis on writing first thing in the day

More often than not I’ll open my laptop and start writing at around 7 o’clock in the morning. That’s deliberate because I know that I’m going to get two hours worth of work without anyone getting in touch with me on email or a phone call or anything like that.

rob m francis

If waking up early is something that comes naturally to you, why not try to get your writing done before anything else? The early hours tend to be the most creative, way before your brain becomes overwhelmed with the demands of the day. For years Rob has started his day very early at his writing desk, which gives him two hours of focused time on the craft before going into his day job as a lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton. No wonder why he’s such a prolific writer!

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Writing first thing in the day
  • Cold showers, breathing exercises and more ways to tap into your creativity
  • Finding time to focus on your writing and avoid distractions

Connect with Rob:

Website / Twitter

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

Ep. 20 | Lisa Blower on fitting your writing around your day job

I swim in the morning and i try to get back to the house by quarter to nine, i make a big pot of coffee, i read what i wrote yesterday and then i’ll write as much as i can before i have to be zoom-ready for a meeting or whatever is coming up that day.

lisa blower

Only a few authors have the luxury to dedicate all their time to their craft. For most of us, writing is something we do around other jobs. In this episode, Lisa talks about how she fits her writing around her academic career. You don’t need to have a very strict writing routine to be successful!

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Writing around a day-time job
  • Tips on having a writing routine that’s flexible around other commitments.

I’d love to say i have a writing routine, but i don’t, i write very sporadically.

lisa blower

Connect with Lisa:

Website / Twitter / Instagram