Newsletter #9: Rejections and Starting a PhD

Hi all,

Welcome to a very long overdue newsletter for 2017. Here are some updates on everything I’ve been up to and progress on my writing.

I’ve started this year feeling quite confident about my book Sexy Capitalism, beginning to finally send off proposals to a number of publishers in the past couple of months.

In doing so I have started to receive the inevitable rejections, with a few publishers already coming back to say my work is not for them. I have also got some very clear feedback about some of the shortcomings of the book as it stands, with editors giving serious advice of what I need to work on.

The feedback has been an interesting mix. I have received some positive comments, with some saying they think the chapters I have written so far have been interesting and that the book is something that should be published (yay!). In the meantime I have had some comments that the content is at times a bit dry, and a bit too niche. I’ve also had some specific comments on the theory I have been working on, in particular in relation to the early stages of capitalism, requiring me to do some more research and background reading to ensure I get everything write.

This is okay, and clearly a part of the writing process. It is something that every writer goes through to some extent. However, at the same time it has definitely been tough. I get immediate feelings that I am both failing and disappointing all of you who have supported me for so long. Even though I have always been warned that writing a book is hard, and takes a lot of time, part of me is surprised at how difficult it has been so far.

The book is still a work in progress, and one I am still working on and thinking about every day. It is not an easy piece and something that is taking a lot of research and writing to make right. I am now working to take on this feedback, taking a step back from the narrow focus I have been taking in many ways to re-broaden the appeal, and to research some of the key areas of theoretical shortcomings I need to fix up. Despite the disappointments I will insist on getting it done, making sure it becomes a reality as soon as it can.

In the meantime I thank you all again for your support and patience, and will keep you updated as things progress in the future. Never fear, it will happen!

Starting the PhD

In the meantime, this month I officially started my studies as a PhD student at the ANU. I have really enjoyed my first month and am loving the institutional support I am receiving as part of this work. I feel like this is something I really needed to do to create some stability and certainty, and am excited about the research I am embarking upon (which you can read about here).

One thing I am definitely working on is the balance between this research and my other writing work, which I fully intend to continue on as much as physically possible. While I absolutely feel this is an opportunity I needed to take up, I have, and continue to feel, nervous, that this will hold me back from working on Sexy Capitalism and my other writing. While there’s a good chance this will make things a little slower, at the same time it is also giving me a whole bunch of support behind my writing, which I think will inevitably make the writing process easier. It also means I do not have to search for anywhere near as much other work, which is a big load off my mind and time! As my research topic is very similar to the book and other writing I do, I hope to be able build them off each other, with the book informing the PhD and vice versa. It will be a challenge, but one I am determined to manage.

I will keep you all up to date with the research as it progresses!

Recent articles 

Here is a collection of articles since I last e-mailed.

Articles:

— BBC Future: What if the state provided everyone with a basic income?
— The Guardian: Anxiety is a way of life for Gen Y: in an insecure world is it any surprise?
— SBS Sexuality: Let’s take a moment to reflect on the importance of Paris is Burning
— SBS Sexuality: Intersex people have called for action. It’s time to listen.
— SBS Sexuality: Despite perceptions, poverty still has a queer face.

Blog posts:

Celebrating David Bowie: The closest thing I’ll ever get to the concert I’ll never see.
Book review: The Gentrification of the Mind.
Medicine, the breakdown of its authority, and the consequences
Learning how to write.

That’s it for me this month. Thanks again all for your support and I will be back in touch soon!

Simon

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