Try, Fail, Sulk, and Move On – Jericho Writers
Jericho Writers
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Try, Fail, Sulk, and Move On

Try, Fail, Sulk, and Move On

Hi, Jericho Writers here! This takeover originally featured in one of our email newsletters in 2022. Since then, Marve’s career has sky-rocketed. After making the Friday Night Live final at our Festival of Writing, Marve went on to secure a three-book deal with Penguin. Take a walk down memory lane with us and enjoy Marve’s advice on how to persevere as a writer…

Hi! I’m Marve, a writer and a recovering sore-loser. I wrote my first poem at eleven. It was NOT the best-written piece of work, but it helped me articulate the feelings I previously didn’t think had words. A couple of years later, I started writing a novel. I’m proud to say I wrote up to 10,000 words before losing my handwritten manuscript– four times! Why? Because I was so excited for anyone to read my work that I literally gifted it to them. It took me a decade to finish that book, but one thing remained the same – I still can’t wait for the world to read my work.  

I pour my heart into every draft, so when my work isn’t the best thing my reader has ever read, the crash hits hard and burns fast! It’s an unrealistic want– somehow, it still hurts.  

In 2017, I took a loan from my dad to publish my first novel and did all the marketing myself. I sold over 400 copies in the launch weekend and sold enough that month to pay back the loan (my dad is a banker, so he’s very by the books). In hindsight, that was pretty impressive for a 22-year-old – but a couple of years later, sales slowed to a near halt. Something wasn’t working and this sent me right into a writing slump for another couple of years.  

It felt like an uphill battle with the saboteur in my head, and while I was terrified, I wasn’t ready to give up yet. So, earlier this year, I dared to write again, and later got a manuscript assessment report. The feedback was– amazing and unique story, but this draft needs a lot more work. Oh! The pain! This feedback hit harder because it was my first try after my writing slump, so in my head, I’m thinking – time to quit.  

But now, I’m back, and that’s because I learned something that’s changed my mindset. I learned to embrace the ‘sulk’. I’ve come to understand that it’s okay to be disappointed, to take as much ice cream as I need, and mindlessly rewatch Friends for the 200th time when things don’t go according to plan. This has been a real breakthrough for me because I’ve allowed myself the time to first, reflect and then do what was most important- move on. Moving on is much easier when you’ve grieved whatever disappointment or letdown you’re dealing with. Whether it’s the 10th or 200th agent rejection, two years stuck on submissions, not getting that award you really wanted, or maybe it’s the sour words of a beta reader. Nothing is too big or small to feel bad about, but you must remember that the goal is to get moving. Allow yourself to feel the feelings. Take however long you need, then come back to the mission, ready to take on the world. At least, that’s what’s worked for me. 

This year, I’ve had to be a lot braver. I applied to five competitions in one day, and got shortlisted for two, including Friday Night Live! Who’d have thought? Did I cry when I missed out on winning? Yes! Did I apply for more? Yes!  

Now, my final draft is nearly clean enough for submission, and with five full manuscript requests, two partials and two editor requests, I feel like I’m much closer to getting an agent. 

I’m also self-publishing again, and while I hope for a greater launch than the first one, nearly six years later, these old bones creak, and I wonder if I have the guts of a hopeful 22-year-old girl. We’ll see. 

The mission is to do it afraid. So, to you, I say, TRY, FAIL, SULK, MOVE ON!