How the QWC / Hachette Manuscript Development Program Changed My Life

It’s been nearly four weeks since I participated in the 2015 QWC / Hachette Manuscript Development Program. Life looks exactly how it did before: chicken pox, nasty colds, uni assignments, bills, not enough sleep.

But something’s different.

I’m not the ‘writer’ I was four weeks ago. I’ve shed that skin. (Not cliches, it seems.)

But I’ve learned what all writers should truly aspire to—a highly paid part-time job.


The recent Macquarie University study revealed average annual author incomes to be around $12,900. No one is writing to get rich.

And it also means that publication is not going to solve my problems, whether they’re financial or emotional. So what is the point of being published then??

If a book isn’t read by other people in the woods—is it still a book?

I’ve read other blogs and Facebook comments about the purpose of writing if publication isn’t the goal. Most of these cite the therapeutic benefits of the process itself.

I don’t dispute this. Sure, some long repressed issues I didn’t know I had imbued some of my characters with a touch of bitterness. But I don’t feel it is the main reason I write…now.

I am writing. But I haven’t even cracked open the manuscript that was selected for the QWC / Hachette Manuscript Development Program. I started a new story, and am nearly halfway through the first draft already (yay NaNoWriMo). While I am going back to that ms (Songs of All Poets) as soon as I can, incorporating the editorial suggestions from the Hachette publisher and writing mentor, I am not STUCK on that manuscript.

Even multi-published authors come up with a dud ms (in their eyes) every now and then. Being published once or twenty times isn’t a golden ticket to continued publication. But the reason why they are successful and bestselling authors is because they set that dud ms aside and get on with the next one.

If Songs of All Poets isn’t picked up for publication, then it’s not the end of the world. Why? Because writing isn’t trapped between the pages of any single manuscript. The only way I can call myself a writer is if I keep on, well, writing stories.

This is one of the reasons I have changed my approach to my second ms. Instead of researching and crafting each scene as I write, I am racing through the first draft ‘telling myself the story first’. Then, I’ll rewrite. (And rewrite and rewrite.)

Persistence, more so than talent, gets a writer published (paraphrasing one of my writing teachers).

Since this shift in perception (quiet but life-changing), ideas for future books have crammed into my headspace, each wanting to be told. If only my fingers were fast enough.





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