Following Ronan’s Advice

A Letter To My Unpublished Self 

By Tilly Tennant

Dear Tilly,

Listen up! I know you have this grand delusion that you’re going to be a famous singer but, really, nobody wants to hear it. You think you open your mouth and you sound like Mary Poppins. The reality is that you crack mirrors, dogs howl and small children flee. Ditch the warbling.

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Have you thought about writing books? You love reading, right? You love wordplay and humour? You love happy ever afters? Sometimes you get grumpy that the story you’re engrossed in doesn’t turn out the way you want it to? Well, hold the phone, because if you’d written it, it would have been exactly the ending you wanted to see.

I won’t lie to you; it’s going to be tough. Possibly tougher than one of your Sunday joints. Almost certainly tougher and less financially rewarding than singing (at least, other people’s singing).

You will have to hold down about fifteen jobs for a while. You will have to work late into the night and get up at the crack of dawn to start all over again the next day. You will sit in darkened rooms on the sunniest days of the year when everyone else is out leaping in fountains and eating ice-cream because you have a deadline.
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At times your kids will think you’ve left home when you’ve actually been holed up in the loft for three days crying over a plot that won’t work. There will be times when you want to throw the laptop from the nearest window, times when your characters will misbehave, times when it seems that nobody wants to buy the rubbish you’re peddling and when they do they only have bad things to say about it. But one day, one glorious, heavenly-choirs-massing-in-the-clouds day, someone will love what you do. Enough to hand you a contract and take you under their wing to nurture what grain of talent you have. One day, you’ll publish that book.

That’s when the adventure really begins. And in the words of a wise old(ish) Irishman: Life is a rollercoaster, you just gotta ride it.

That’s my advice. What you choose to do with it is up to you.

Love from Tilly xxx

Tilly wrote her first novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She lives in Staffordshire with her wonderful family. Her first novel Hopelessly Devoted To Holden Finn was released earlier this year. 

tillytennant.com

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