Small is beautiful… Or is it?

After all these years of writing I have an article published, something which pays me a paltry fifty pounds.

It feels surreal to see it on the page of one of Britain’s leading sailing publications, Yachting Monthly. Is that really my work? Maybe it’s a dream, because despite being encouraged to create all through one’s school years, the negativity often encountered when stepping into the breach is often shocking. Where now the encouragement?


Fame at last? Hardly… But maybe something will develop from it.

Years ago, I was a serious poet and writer and had no doubt that it was my reason for being on this planet. Slowly over time, confidence drains away, especially in these days of celebrity where it seems any empty-headed, vacuous bimbo can have a biography ghost-written and sold immediately, because, ‘That is what people are interested in’.

We live in a hugely competitive times where gigantic egos vie with each other for that mighty success story and if one is connected then half the battle is won. London buses carry massive adverts for sensationally named novels, which on inspection are unimpressive and eminently forgettable; nevertheless, a well connected writer is almost there before their manuscript is completed.


Here it is, my first published article. It is deliberately obscured for copyright reasons.

Who said life was fair?

It isn’t and nor is it meant to be. If one is unconnected, then a singular strength is required to push through, in the manner of the incredible JK Rowling, that Edinburgh mum who never doubted she would make it. I love her success story for it is the stuff of faery, real magic… Cinderella with a happy ending , if you will.

The irony of leading a ‘life less travelled’ hasn’t been lost on me. I’ve had my share of minor celebrity status in Scandinavia, but other people have made money off it! Journalists mainly. Not a bean to show for it except for a sack of wood dropped on my foredeck one day. Thanks for that…

Even my article, was offered originally at £200 for one thousand words, but eventually bottomed out at £50! However, they did throw in two free copies of Yachting Monthly. Thanks, I know the magazine has rising costs, and this sailor is probably padding out the magazine’s final spare page… Northern Baltic not sexy enough for you? Ironically, I’ve never yet met another single-handed female sailor, but I am informed they are around. They are definitely not up in the Northern Latitudes; nevertheless, this sailor’s life is not considered the stuff of yachting publications. No club, no sexy sailing boat and no certificates, make for a very ordinary seafarer, despite being 20,000 solo nautical miles in. I do have some Musto waterproofs but they rotted years ago. Now it’s commercial gear from a fuel station in Amsterdam at an eighth of the price.

Front page and centre spread for this one…. and a radio interview.

This is a lesson to be learned for any aspiring writer. There’s no substitute for hard graft; yours truly, has never been an exponent of the effort needed to succeed in a writer’s profession. She loves sailing and the call of the wind’ being out there rather than close-hauled on the nearest marina bar, shooting the breeze with all the weekenders (I prefer cafes with non sailor folk! The sight of a sailory beard and I’m out of there!)

The time and dedication needed for one unconnected in the business is huge, as JK Rowling proved. Rejection after rejection and yet she never gave up… a truly remarkable spirit.

So there you have it! My autobiography remains ‘self-published’ on an obscure website, going nowhere. If it were splashed on the side of London buses, maybe I’d have a chance;

Yes, and Free sails faster than the Cutty Sark!


About Viking Queen

I am a sailor and I live on my boat 'Free'. I have no home but originate from Tyneside. I have no allegiance, just a desire to do no harm and live with courage and an open heart.
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26 Responses to Small is beautiful… Or is it?

  1. Kat says:

    Yeay….fabulous whaling x. Well done Pops, about time. See u so only. X Kat

  2. Christian says:

    Life as we know it is not fair nor is greener on the other side. It’s annoying when you see these rubbish books by a five minute wonder who you won’t remember in a year’s time. We just have to take each day as it comes but never lose hope and never stop being kind ,polite as this costs nothing and maybe one day we will get our rewards. There is always one day it will be you

  3. Simona says:

    You’ve got the brains, you’ve got the looks and you’ve certainly got the talent! Go, Poppy!

  4. Roger Lundqvist says:

    I am glad that you had your article published. Fame or not it doesn’t matter, what matter is that your truly friends love you for whom you are, so keep on writing for us.

  5. Viki Moore says:

    Congratulations! I love your spirit and attitude, and especially your writing.

  6. christian costenoble says:

    Bravo super congratulations feliz ano happy new year also jeje saludos

  7. Andy says:

    Congratulations on your article. Despite it ‘bottoming out’ it’s still an achievement. And I enjoyed your book.

  8. Anne Bancroft says:

    Congrats! We are impressed!

  9. beliefpatrol says:

    Congratulations! You are SUCH and amazing inspiration Poppy! GREAT work!

  10. Poppy, you sound like a woman after my own heart – though you are ahead of me in both being able to sail and having a book! well done 😉 – oh and your boat is bound to be faster than mine – she’s a big old fat-bottomed girl lol

    • Viking Queen says:

      She sounds lovely! Don’t worry Hilary, we all have to start at the beginning! Enjoy the journey and don’t rush anything! The important thing is to make slow and steady progress without letting folk discourage you!

  11. Hi Poppy, I lost track of your blog and was going through old posts and found your link. Glad you are still active here.
    It truly is a shame that a writer has to push and push and market oneself to either make a buck or get that big break. There must be a better way. I believe you can self publish an ebook on kindle now, or there is on demand publishing? Is it worth looking into these?

    • Viking Queen says:

      Wow, what a lovely surprise Amanda! So good to hear from you again! I already have published my autobiography on, which is ‘on demand’ publishing. I was just having a wee hissy fit!

      • No worries, Poppy! And I am happy to find you again. How did you find the self-publishing on demand approach? Another blogger friend and I are contemplating that same thing at the moment. Are some sites better than others, do you think? I guess we have to do some research before committing. I sell my fabrics and art via the net and it seems that you have to constantly promote yourself to continue the trickle of sales. It doesn’t make you a millionaire, by any stretch of the imagination.

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