Someone recently got in touch about my blog saying nice things, but adding that they found it 'also a bit depressing sometimes when you highlight the plight of the debut writer and how difficult it is to get published.'
Oh dear. Nothing could be further from my intention because I don't think the road to getting published is depressing at all. As far as I can see, getting published is open to anyone, of any age, background, colour, creed, nationality, shape, size, whatever. Anyone, absolutely anyone, can get published.
Personally, I think that's cheering. What I accept might be depressing is quite how competitive it is, but that's true for most endeavours that are worth doing.
For instance, I didn't realise until I started working at the University of Bath, where many of our elite athletes train, exactly what those young people put themselves through. Hours and hours of training, day in, day out, for year after year. Diet constantly monitored, no fun and games, sponsorship only for the lucky few, and real success only for one or two out of the hundreds who are training - and that's just at Bath.
It's hard doing almost anything and most things require years of training and practice - it takes about the same time to learn how to blow glass properly as it does to become a doctor. Why not writing as well?
So you learn, you practice, you get better. It takes time. Yes, a few lucky people get there more quickly than others, but so long as you constantly keep on learning, keep on improving, keep on pushing at the door I believe it will eventually open.
The key to opening the door is writing something good, and that's possible for all of us. Keep trying, keep on improving, keep writing, keep learning, keep pushing the door. The only way to fail is to stop trying.