When I was young there seemed to be all the time in the world stretching before me so hope was relatively easy to sustain – hope that one day I’d have the perfect body, meet the perfect partner, have the perfect job, be a successful writer. Now I’m a bit more jaded, a bit more cynical, a bit more tired. A while ago I watched a webinar of a screen writer giving tips on getting work published/commissioned/performed (don’t ask me his name as I’m useless at that kind of information). In it he said that as writers we should abandon hope and just DO it, rather than HOPE things will come to pass in the future. He has a very valid point.

How much of what we do would improve if we didn’t wait for fate to intervene, or for someone else to do something for us? How different would our approach to life be if we had the confidence that who we are and what we did was good enough? It’s an interesting thought.

Last weekend I was on an excellent course in crime writing and publishing. There were great speakers and I learnt a lot. On the last day we had to ‘pitch’ our novel to a publisher using the information and help we’d been given throughout the course. It was quite scary, but the more I practised my speil, the more convinced I was that, actually, my novel was worth publishing. My pitch was successful and I was invited to send the synopsis and the first three chapters to him. If he liked my writing he would pass it on to a colleague who dealt with my kind of novel. I was euphoric. However, when I got back home the black dog started nibbling at my confidence.

I don’t know about you, but I’m my own worst critic. When I read the first three chapters and applied what I’d learnt during the course I realized that I needed to change the narrative from first to third person and to seriously edit the novel to keep it tight. Normally I would have panicked, stressed myself out and prayed a lot. Instead I prayed a lot, but not about hoping the agent would like my work and pass it on, but to do what needs to be done to make it better. It’s a good story and I want to tell it the best way I can to make it enjoyable for people to read. It’s down to me – the opportunity is there but the only way to be successful is to do a good job, not keep my fingers crossed and hope the universe will smile success on me.

So what place does hope have in my life? I think in my beliefs that things will unltimately be good, that spring flowers and leaves budding on trees show us that life returns after the dead season, bringing with it hope and promises for the future.

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