Monday 18 March 2024

Writing - So Much More than the Pursuit of Publication

Writing - So Much More than the Pursuit of Publication

Sometimes as a pre-published author I get tunnel vision, believing success is only one thing – getting published. But it is so much more. It just takes a wide angled lens to appreciate just how much more.

When you are on submission and the rejections are rolling in or worse, there is a void of rejections as is the modern way, and everyone seems to be getting contracts but you, it can seem as if success is binary, in print or failed. This is the time to take a step back and admire the view. Due to this exact reason and also not helped by a spell of bad health, this is what I have recently done.

I have done this before and posted about all the ways that writing has enhanced my life and my family's in multiple ways - read more here. But this time I wanted to do it specifically for my current project/submission ‘Ashley Grimes Mammoth Whisperer.’ To see how writing the book has embellished by life, and it is a really lovely view with lots of accomplishments to feel good about.

Firstly, I have rekindled my original love of illustration, as a direct result, as I started sketching the characters and settings. I am now working on developing a portfolio.

Space mammoth - illustration by me - crayons, ink, ipad. 


I had an article of non-fiction about Mammoths and climate change published in the amazing children’s periodical The Changeling Magazine, along with one of my illustrations. Read more here.

I’ve also been invited to do library and museum events to talk children and adults alike abut mammoths and their theoretical use to help combat climate change.

I’m now sometime referred to as Mammoth Lady or Mammoth Aunty (not actually by my a nephews or nieces!) which I love. Also, often people think of me when they stumble across a mammoth and send me photos/messages, which I adore. Who doesn’t like seeing a mammoth in the wild? Or send me mammoth things they've made - I love a surprise mammoth post!

A selection of handmade mammoth surprise post!

I have had the privilege of messaging, meeting, and making friends with some lovely equally - possibly even more - mammoth obsessed people than me. Like Beth Shaprio, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology who wrote the book, ‘How to Clone a Mammoth,’ who very kindly checked the science in my manuscript. 

Also, thanks to my longest friend Vicky Stowell – thank you, Sally and Nev Hollingworth, who are the amazing paleontologist's who found the Mammoth of Graveyard near Swindon.

Me (middle) With Sally and Nev Hollingworth - (photo by Nev (thanks Nev))

Lastly it was Sally and Nev who invited me to do something that I always wanted to do, go on a planetology dig. When I was a teenager, I desperately wanted to be a paleozoologist or anthropologist, but I was not permitted to take science and I was told by school I would never me allowed to do any scientific endeavour but to stick to art due to my dyslexia and dyscalculia. Of course at that tender age you believe it. So going to the dig was amazing. Full of lovely generous people. Although I personally didn’t find any bits of dead mammoth, I did help plaster a mammoth tusk ready for transport. Which was a real honour! 

Me helping with the plastering - thanks to Sally H for photo.

So, when the rejections are rolling in, and my lack of perceived achievement gets me down, I have to think - if I gave up writing what else would I miss? The answer is - a lot. A lot of awesome stuff!

Me at the dig! Thanks Sally H for the photo!

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