Hugest welcome to the lovely Marie Basting, whose debut novel Princess BMX has just jumped onto the bookshelves. We LOVE a great post about writing, so how lucky are we that Marie has written an inspiring one about RESILIENCE? Fasten your bike helmet, and dive in…
Why Writers Need to be More BMX
Part Two: Taking One for the Team –Topping Up Your Resilience Bank Account
Welcome to part two of my series on why we all need to be more BMX…where I reflect on the importance of team and community to a writer’s long-term resilience.
More than words
So it’s easy to talk about resilience, like I did in my last post, to tell writers they need to get back on their bike and keep taking risks. But if you’re cynical like me, you want more than mantras and well-meaning words. You want the tools and resources to help you put those words into action.
Before I spent my days in fantasy worlds sadly laughing at my own jokes, I used to work in organisational development – which is fancy-pants speak for delivering change through people. As government austerity measures hit, much to my horror, the job became more about making people redundant. We talked about resilience a lot, and I’d often hear it being referred to in terms of a bank account.
Like any bank account, our resilience account has a regular income and also allows for withdrawals. When things are going well, we top up our account, building a healthy reserve, but when things go wrong our investment quickly diminishes. Every rejection, critique group that didn’t go to plan or negative outpouring from our internal critic, drains our resources until we’re left literally empty; empty and vulnerable just as we find ourselves when our financial resources run out.
So, what can we do to keep that resilience bank account healthy? Yep, you guessed it we can start by being more BMX, by adopting a team mentality and building support networks that will see us through the tough times.
On the Same Side
BMXers are tight. They look out for each other. Watch them at competitions, cheering other competitors on from the side-lines, picking up their teammates literally and metaphorically. They are in it together, topping up each other’s resilience accounts with kind words and encouragement. My debut journey has been so much better for being part of a similar tight-knit team. Technically, we are competitors, our middle grade debuts sitting next to each other on the bookshelf, but that doesn’t stop us giving each other advice, picking each other up when needed or sharing our successes. In this way, we are extremely BMX. And we all benefit. Together it’s much easier to maintain that positive sporting mindset, to know that the setbacks or worries are just the writer’s equivalent to coming off on the half-pipe.
And sharing the burden doesn’t stop with the immediate team. BMXers of different disciplines connect online and at events, sharing the love of the wider sport. And they are also out there connecting with their fans, taking time out to meet and inspire the next generation of BMXers. Likewise, I have my community – the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Some of these guys have been with me from the start, helping me learn and encouraging me to keep going. Others I’ve met along the way, writers with more experience acting as mentors and coaches just as BMXers mentor and coach less experienced competitors. Whatever their role in my writing journey, all of them have fed my resilience account in their own extreme way.
So, while there are lots of things you can do to top up your resilience, for me friendship and community are the key currency. Go, find your tribe. Be more BMX!
PRINCESS BMX by Marie Basting is out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)