I’ve written before about the struggle between confidence and wanting to burn what I’ve done and run screaming through the streets – it’s odd that a career choice that is actually quite insular is driven so much by external validation. As a writer just starting out, it can be really hard to find the kind of validation that you trust – of course my mum and my sister and my friends and even, to a certain extent, my colleagues and tutors on the MA tell me that the writing is going okay but you know, they don’t want to offend me! I’m not sure if I’ll ever trust those closest to me because I know they love me (it’s like when my lovely husband tells me I look good in whatever I’m wearing!)
So you can imagine how I felt when I got some external validation: the David Higham Scholarship for Creative (Crime) Fiction.
Oh My God!
I actually found out in September and have pretty much been basking in my own glow since then, but I’ve kept schtum about it because of that little voice in the back of my head saying ‘It’s all a big mistake Freya! You’re the La La Land of the scholarship world.’ Well, I’ve had my Oscar moment now, they’ve given me the certificate and I feel confident enough to share with my good followers.
I cannot begin to describe how much the award means to me. Just having someone who knows what they’re doing saying that they like my work is absolutely phenomenal. They think it has promise. They think it could go somewhere and be worthwhile in the future. Wow! I think, more than anything, it’s the thought of this that has been keeping me going. My word count is going up – a little more slowly than I would like, but up nonetheless – and the end is finally moving into sight.
Of course, it’s not the only think keeping me going – I know I’m in the wrong career if I’m only motivated by a pat on the back from someone I don’t know. I’m driven to find out how my story ends, to find out where my characters go and even to find out whether or not I actually can finish a 90,000 word novel! But the pat on the back is a pretty powerful too.
I know I will remember the moment I found out for the rest of my life – wherever my career takes me, however many books I write (or don’t) – this moment, this first external validation will stay with me forever.