A Letter to my Unpublished Self with Monique Mulligan

Author Monique Mulligan has been running a series on her blog called ‘A Letter to my Unpublished Self’ for a while now. It’s one that I’ve read regularly for the past few months and have always admired.

Recently I was lucky enough to have my own letter included. You can read an extract below, and click through to Monique’s site to read the complete piece…

Hey Unpublished Helen,

You’ve just finished high school and are about to go to uni…

A turbulent time for anyone, but… right now, you’re in a constant state of defence. A position you’ll find yourself in constantly over the next few years. You’ll be forced to confront these questions and comments regularly:

  • Why do you want to do creative writing at university?
  • How will you get a “real job”?
  • How will you make MONEY?
  • You know most writers never get published, right?
  • Everyone would write a book if they had the time…

It will be exhausting and demoralising.

As for uni… majoring in creative writing, while fantastic for broadening your reading and introducing you to like-minded creative folk, will ingrain literary fiction as the ONLY worthwhile fiction in your mind.

So you’ll write bad lit fic manuscript after bad lit fic manuscript, in the hopes of one day being taken seriously as a writer. All this, despite the lingering suspicion that lit fic isn’t quite right for you.

That lingering suspicion? It’s called gut instinct, and you should trust it.

If only you were receiving this letter now, hey? But don’t worry, those shitty drafts and agonising rounds of edits with your publisher will teach you so much about writing and the way you approach your craft.

It’s not wasted time, but rather practise for what’s to come. Trust me, you’ve learnt a lot.

You know that work ethic you’ve been honing for a while now? You’re going to need it.

Read the rest of the letter here.

A big thank you to Monique for the opportunity to participate!

Until next time,

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