In the last few weeks, I had the opportunity to catch up with my former editor, a fellow author whose had her third book published, and to a newly published children's author. They were all great conversations. It made me take stock of where I was with my writing.
New author was sharing about some recent hurdles and frustrations. It made me remember some of my own struggles when I was starting out. Sometimes the frustrations from writing doesn't come from writing itself. It is everything else. When you've spent hours writing something, and angsting over how to phrase something, fleshing out your beloved characters... it kind of sucks when other people don't respect that (or you) enough to see its value. I don't know whether this kind of behaviour is linked to a flawed perception of what authors do, or a lack of appreciation of freelance agents in general.
This year I cut down on some other activities in my life to focus on writing. It hasn't been easy as I have encountered, and am still encountering hurdles on almost every project right now.
But it's the peripheral work of an author that keeps me going and keeps me grounded. School visits are when I meet my audience. I see how they respond to the stories, and I make mental notes on what works and what doesn't. It has made me a better writer, I think. Singapore may be a Little Red Dot, but I see a huge variance in the pre-school audience. It is often linked to the teaching pedagogies at the school, and the socio-economic background of the children, and how exposed they are to different topics. This means having to think on my feet and adjusting my presentations to suit them. When I focus on the audience, it makes all the irritations of writing and getting published go away.