Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Rejt Advice

Not my headline but one from Mslexia Magazine for an interview with Macmilllan and Picador publishing director, Maria Rejt. I'm not sure I've ever quite forgiven the magazine for heading an article I wrote about finding your own voice through studying other writers The Art of Plagiarism - after I'd been really really careful to say DON'T copy in the piece. Not only that but they spelt Plagiarism wrong - a fact which was pointed out to me gleefully by several hundred students. They did put a graceful apology in their next edition but if you google me it still comes up with something like - Sarah Salway argues that copying other writers is a good thing. Argh. OK, I was saying something like that but context is all and that bland sentence isn't something I really want to have on my record. But but but, nevertheless, it's still a great magazine, I was proud to have written for them (and to have had several of my poems published by them) and I look forward to it and read it avidly every month. This issue is particularly good as it has the results of their annual poetry competition. (Dads by Carole Bromley is particularly wonderful, and I was glad to look her up and find other moving poems online.) Anyway, anyway, back to the Rejt stuff. Her advice:

1. Don't be scared of the knock backs. If you are that sensitive then you shouldn't be writing. It's an endurance test.

2. Discover a new writer every year, even if you just read one book. Seek out the best because it will give a context to your own voice.

3. There is no book that I have come across that I have published - or have been disappointed abut not publishing - that didn't need editing. The great thing is feedback, feedback and then a little bit more feedback.

Ah, yes. I'm going to print this out and put it on my newly cleared noticeboard.


alex said...

My advice always is don't be scared of the knock backs. If you are that sensitive then you shouldn't be writing. It's an endurance test.

Nik's Blog said...

Good, sensible advice there, and nice to be reminded of it every now and again.

Tell you what, that headline'd have narked me as well. Not that I'd have seen it cos I'm a boy and, no boys allowed, and all that.

Could I tempt you to maybe take part in my post-a-photo-of-a-random-bookshelf-(or book pile) almost meme, perhaps?

(Alex gives good advice as well, doesn't he?)


Nik's Blog said...

I realise that I'm making the assumption that Alex is male - apologies if she isn't.

Alex said...

I'm a chap. But in a non-confrontational way.

Sarah Salway said...

Nik, Alex is the King of the bookcase - (even if his jokes sometimes need explaining to the thickies ie me, just as his jam doesn't always set). Will do that meme today, watch this space.

Nik's Blog said...

And I thought it was sheds only! Who knew? Not me. That site's ACE.

Sarah Salway said...

Rumour has it he's starting a jam making one too.

jem said...

I like finding a new favourite author each year, its like having a new little god to worship and it keeps me hopeful and alert - although 'the best' is a shifting concept for me - sometimes something considered trashy or low brow can offer something quite valid.