Saturday, 17 September 2011

Jojo Moyes - an inspiration

On Thursday 15th September, Jojo Moyes gave a talk to the Romantic Novelists' Association.

Perfectly ordinary sentence, right?

What it doesn't say is that on Thursday 15th September every single rail line within reach of Jojo went into meltdown at precisely the time at which she'd thought of leisurely setting out to London, on which journey she would buy lunch, sip water and hone a nice talk.

As soon as the full horror of the transport situation dawned she rang, and I said we could reschedule. "Certainly not," she said. "I'll be there. It's just a matter of how."

And she was - through tortuous means - and she was brilliant. She talked about realising in her early days that if writing was the only thing she wanted to do, she was going to damn well do it properly. She talked about not understanding what agents meant when they were turning down her first few books, but doggedly writing on until she DID suddenly know what she was doing, and the rush of excitement at knowing she was doing it well.

And she talked about something that struck a deep resounding chord with me. She'd recently sent in her tenth book, within deadline, and had it accepted. And then she'd re-read the manuscript and realised that while it was an okay book, it wasn't the best book she could write. So she's taken it back and cut 60,000 words out of it and is now frantically rewriting.

That's what I do - albeit on a smaller scale. I'm obsessive about getting each and every word just right. I polish until I throw up on opening the file. I know I could earn more money from my writing if I submitted something that was good enough, and in every other area of my life (I'm thinking particularly of housework here), I do just that. But not writing. Whatever I write has to be the best I can do.

So thanks, Jojo. Thanks for being a total professional. And thanks for bolstering me. And you can just bet that I'm going to be first in line when the new book is published.

Jojo Moyes won the 2004 Romantic Novel of the Year with Foreign Fruit and is the current holder with The Last Letter From Your Lover. We in the RNA are very proud of her.


Cat Marsters/Kate Johnson said...

It's a good job she had alternative means of getting there or she might have been late for her own talk! Can't believe how long it took me to get there, but I'm glad I did, and I wish I'd caught the start of her talk because the last half of it was brilliant!

D.J. Kirkby said...

"I polish until I throw up on opening the file"...horrible but exact imagery. How awesome that JoJo honoured her commitment to give her talk despite the rail travel meltdown, sorry I missed it!

Jan Jones said...

The girl done good. Shame you didn't catch the whole thing, K8, but I think you were there for quite a lot of it.

Shame you couldn't be there, Denyse :(

liz fenwick said...

She is brilliant and her talk was so inspiring!

Great write up


ps...wonderful to see & have a chance to chat

Jan Jones said...

Was nice to catch up with you too, Liz :)

Marsha said...

She was brilliant, and such an inspiration.

Great to see you, Jan! :)

Jan Jones said...

Nice to see you, too, Talli. Er, Marsha.

Phillipa said...

Thanks for the inspiring report, Jan.