The ultimate accolade?

Image: Pixabay

“… yeah, well, not everyone is a professional writer like you…” His expression turned to horror as he realised what he had said. “Oh sh…” My son muttered a profanity under his breath, probably hoping I would not register his words. No chance.

“That is coming awfully close to being another compliment, you know.” He had already slipped up once that morning when I had shown him the new design for The Initiate. His analysis was all I could have hoped for… then he asked where we had bought the cover. He seemed surprised to hear that the design was our own.

It doesn’t seem all that long since I plonked my first paperback on the table to be told that it ‘almost looks like a proper book’. And it is only a few months since my younger son finally admitted to having read one of them and said, with an air of astonishment, that he had enjoyed it.

Like most writers, I gave up long ago expecting my work to be regarded as anything more than ‘Mum’s hobby’. It might have been different if I’d become the next J. K. Rowling, but as most of our books are slightly weird and do not fit neatly into any genre, that is hardly likely to happen. So praise from both my sons, albeit accidental, felt like the ultimate accolade.

Growing up with a writer for a mother, my own attitude was different. I read everything she wrote, hot off the typewriter and with the uncritical eyes of youth. She believed in herself as a writer, so I believed in her too. It was as simple as that and I still love the characters she created today.

With the advent of the internet, followed by the increasing literary ‘respectability’ of self-publishing, the writer’s world has changed. It is harder than ever to break into mainstream publishing. Wonderful contracts and substantial advances are, for most, a thing of the past and anyone can now share their stories online. Indie authors have fought long and hard to have their work accepted as equal in quality to mainstream publications and make up a huge percentage of the books now for sale via the online sellers. And, let us not forget that very many Indies do the whole kit and kaboodle themselves, from the writing, editing and proofing through to the internal design and cover, which requires a whole host of skills that were once outside of the writer’s remit.

The one thing that has not changed is the need to believe in your work. I look around the blogosphere and through the responses to the writephoto prompt and am in awe at the sheer variety and scope of the imagination displayed. It is a real gift to be able to create engaging fiction, bring characters to life, craft convoluted yet believable plots or compose poetry that touches the emotions. Anyone can string words together, but not everyone can write and yet I see many who are so diffident about a talent I admire that they would hesitate to call themselves writers. For a very long time, I felt that way too.

My mother’s belief in her work both inspired, and was bolstered by, the faith of those around her. It gave her the confidence to submit her work to any number of publishers, filing rejection letters with a philosophical shrug before parcelling up the manuscript to send on to the next one. It was a confidence that eventually led to her earning a regular living as a writer and seeing her work in print every month for many years.

For myself, there are now a goodly number of books with my name on their spine, both alone, with Stuart France and with G. Michael Vasey. It isn’t about reaching Rowling-esque sales or creating the buzz of a Dan Brown… the books are written because we believe in what we do.

And, if my son calls me a ‘professional writer’, I know I’ve hit the big time.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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46 Responses to The ultimate accolade?

  1. Probably because I have been a writer for my entire professional life and still writing, With the exception of ONE friend who thinks of me a musician, everyone thinks I’m a writer. Only Ben remembers that before i wrote, i played music. I’m not sure their regard is a necessarily a compliment, but it’s good description. That is what I do. I write. I think they regard it as annoying,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. gmvasey says:

    Sue, you are very fortunate to be called a writer by your sons. My daughter is convinced I hang on Facebook fo a living.

    Like

  3. TanGental says:

    You need to take all the praise that’s going, Sue. Well deserved as it is surprising given the source!

    Like

  4. Ritu says:

    You are indeed a fantastic author 🥰

    Like

  5. Mary Smith says:

    Wonderful! It feels so much more precious and satisfying when it’s from a family member, doesn’t it?

    Like

  6. V.M.Sang says:

    I don’t think, no, I know, my family doesn’t think of me as a writer. Writing, to them, is my hobby. Even my husband thinks of it that way.
    Perhaps it would be different if I were selling thousands of books and making lots of money. None of them has read any of my books, either.
    To be called a professional writer by your son, I therefore consider the greatest complement.

    Like

  7. jenanita01 says:

    High praise indeed, but he’s right, you know. You are a fine writer, Sue…

    Like

  8. Always good when a family member acknowledges it – especially as it’s such a rare event!

    Like

  9. joylennick says:

    You are, indeed, a wise and fine writer, Sue. He’s only speaking the truth. Onwards….

    Like

  10. bobcabkings says:

    Congratulations!

    Like

  11. Congratulations! That must have really made your day.

    Like

  12. I think its true, and its the ultimate accolade, praised by the own, too. Well deserved, Sue!

    Like

  13. Eliza Waters says:

    High praise indeed, it hardly gets better than that. 🙂 I learned long ago that family cannot see you in any way as better than them, even if the talent is obvious!

    Like

  14. Widdershins says:

    Heh, way too late to take that one back! 😀

    Like

  15. willowdot21 says:

    By Jove indeed an accolade 🌈💜

    Like

  16. That is one thing that made a truly positive change in my life, Sue, and that was appreciating and respecting my own creativity in my writing. I still think of my early high school teacher who encouraged me and told me I would be a great writer someday. I did not know then that she whispered it to everyone in the class, and I think we all drank it up. So no matter what else I might not have believed about myself, that is one thing I did believe for sure. I am so grateful today to be able to reap some of the rewards, no matter how small. It feels good and I don’t need anyone else to validate me in my work. Thank you kindly and Stuart’s post was attached to yours, co thank you both very much. Always such great writing and inspiration!

    Like

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