Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Dedicated to the one I love..., By Dan Metcalf

Today it is the twentieth anniversary of the day my wife and I first got together. We were star-eyed teenagers at the time, just a week away from A Levels. We had known each other for a while, just to smile at and to chat to around school but May 22nd 1998 was the day we finally ended up together.
We survived A Levels, spent a summer courting and then University beckoned. She went off to Bath to read English, while I headed to Bournemouth to study Scriptwriting. Looking back it was madness; waiting for a grade to decide where you would live for the next three years. It was exciting to go off to uni, but it was hell leaving her. 
We spent our student loans on train fares to see each other and phonecards (remember those?). We even wrote letters. Imagine that!
We graduated. We moved in together. We got jobs. We got Masters degrees. We got married. We had a son. Then we had another son.
The part I am missing out in our potted history is that, through it all, I was trying to write. i got up early before work to write a book, and then I would write at lunchtimes. I wanted to be a professional and to leave my job in libraries. 
I finished the book and sent it out. No joy. 
I wrote a second book and sent it out. No joy.
Third book. No joy
Fourth... You get the idea.
Meanwhile my amazing wife would dutifully read drafts, offer comments and massage my brow when another rejection letter would drop onto the mat. It took me 13 years from starting the first book to eventually getting something published and not once did she suggest that I give up, pursue something else or even change genre. All she gave was total belief, to the point where, when my work became too much, she suggested that I go part time to focus on writing. Then, when l was laid off, she supported my crazy idea to write full time. She is, as you will no doubt agree, absolutely brilliant.
It paid off. I am now a full time writer who lives by his quill (and school visits, obviously). When aspiring writers ask what you need to write a book, I will list the usual: a notebook, pen, imagination - but also a cheerleader. Someone to believe in you and egg you on, even when you have nothing left in the tank.
So thank you, Beth. For being brilliant, for being a light in the dark. For being you.  
Dan Metcalf is the writer of Dino Wars: Rise of the Raptors, out now with Maverick Children's Books.  danmetcalf.co.uk/dinowars 


Catherine Butler said...

Congratulations to you both!

Anne Booth said...

Happy anniversary and congratulations! I would not be published without my cheerleading husband, so I know what you mean!

Penny Dolan said...

Beautiful post - and the truth. We all welcome support during the tough times and the good. Congratulations to you both.

Susan Price said...


Lynne Benton said...

So true, Dan - cheerleading other halves, and/or friends who really understand, are vital to a writer's well-being! Congratulations to you both on making it work.

Dan Metcalf said...

Aw thanks guys D x