Writing can be tough. Eve Ainsworth talks about disappointment..

Rejection is tough. Eve Ainsworth, whose debut YA novel 7 Days was published this year, shares her experiences and offers some tips on dealing with disappointment.

I could seriously write a 900 page novel on the theme of disappointment, as it’s something I know only too well. Disappointment is a cruel beast – it stings like no other and can harm your creativity. It is hard. But it is also unavoidable, inevitable and important – it will strengthen you as a writer. This I can promise you.

The hardest time was when I was shortlisted for the Greenhouse Funny Prize in 2012. The agent running the competition was very interested in my book and I honestly thought that ‘my time’ had arrived – I would finally have a chance of getting something published.

However, even a shortlisting did not result in the agent signing me – and a flurry of rejections from others followed. I guess that was the closest I came to giving up. Disappointment claws at you, it makes you feel so bloody miserable and despondent but you have to fight against it, it’s the only way.

In my files I have email after email of rejections. In my drawers I have unsigned manuscripts that no-one wanted, that weren’t quite good enough and probably never will be. Every time a rejection happened, that awful thought would occur ‘maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe this will never happen for me’. But I kept plodding on. I kept on because I couldn’t stop. Writing is such a natural part of my life – It felt wrong not doing it.

I went on to write 7 Days, purely as an experiment, really. I was trying something different, outside of my comedy comfort zone – and to my surprise it worked. It was snapped up by the wonderful Stephanie at Curtis Brown, who later told me that my earlier work had caught her eye and she was ‘waiting for something new from me’. Three months later, Scholastic offered to publish. Disappointment now was far from my mind.

Of course, you will still have times when the evil beast returns to gnaw at you – even when published and your dreams seem to have come true. Sales might disappoint, reviews or even your own writing might throw you a curve ball – but the trick is to fight against it. As the great Baz Luhrmann once said:

“Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind
The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself”

Keep fighting. Keep smiling and keep writing. Above all – never give up.