I began this year as an apprentice in code, being incredibly lucky to be able to work with and learn from some of the most talented people in the industry. Prior to the apprenticeship, I’d been learning code as a hobby outside of work. Although I still do some coding as a hobby outside of work, the fact I now spend my time coding in my standard workday opens up a bit more “hobby time” for other neglected goals and interests. The most neglected but cherished of these is writing.
It has been a sleeping goal of mine to write a children’s book, ever since my childhood obsessions with Harry Potter, anything by Roald Dahl, and more. I was most certainly one of those kids hiding under their duvets reading until the early hours of each morning, away with the fairies, monsters, and dragons.
Late last year, I was full of hope as I applied to the Golden Egg Academy’s 12-month writing course. Golden Egg isn’t your average course. It’s run by a team of highly experienced, respected editors, who work alongside some of the leading children’s book agents and publishers here in the UK. Over the course of a year, attendees get to work closely with the editors, all with the goal of getting a step closer to publication. With that goal in mind, they only accept applicants whose work in progress they believe holds the potential to be published.
I wasn’t ready last year and, though a little sad, was not surprised when I received a rejection.
Since then, I’ve put a lot of effort into improving my writing. I did a creative writing course from Curtis Brown and then Golden Egg’s non-selective 12-week course. This was combined with efforts I’ve been making to share and write more of my non-fiction, including David Perrell’s Write of Passage, joining the Foster community, getting into the practice of writing morning pages, and daily journaling.
Recently, applications were again open for the next round of Golden Egg’s 12-month course, starting in January 2022. Although I’ve put work into improving my draft, I still wasn’t fully confident but thought there was no harm in re-applying. I’m aiming to become a master at (learning via) failing, after all.
Monday, in my sickbed, I opened up my email to see a reply from one of Golden Egg’s editors. I put off reading it, believing I needed to first brace myself for another rejection and critical feedback. Finally, when I felt ready for rejection, I opened the email and was joyful to see the news I’d been accepted into the next 12-month course. 🎉
The overall feedback from the editor was lovely and a masterclass in how to deliver critical feedback in a constructive, encouraging manner. The summary was that “there’s more to develop, but there is a strong, sparkling concept ready to shine through the rest of the story”. I’m beyond ecstatic that I’ll get to, again, spend a year developing a craft with some of the most talented people in its industry.
Here’s to a 2022 that’s full of writing both code and words. 🥂