I am learning the inevitable lesson that life as a writer, and interaction with the publishing industry in particular, is unpredictable and sometimes frustrating.
There were a couple of months over the summer where everything suddenly felt as if it was coming together. Four of my short stories were accepted for publication, I was offered free theatre tickets in return for reviews for a new monthly magazine, someone approached me about putting together a couple of anthologies of my work, and I was asked to write several articles for a different quarterly magazine.
I may have got rather over-excited about it all, and I’m sure there are at least a few people in my life who got a bit sick of me going on and on – I don’t blame them in the least.
Then, nothing. Some projects were delayed, some publishers went ominously silent, the magazine didn’t have space for my first review. Where before there had been weekly acceptance emails, now there was only tumbleweed. It felt like I’d gone from being top of the world to not really existing at all.
That’s when I remembered that the real reason I write is because I don’t know how to live my life without doing so. While publication and recognition for my work are obviously among my main goals, the most important thing is to find satisfaction in the writing itself. My main motivation has to be my own sense of accomplishment at finishing a story or putting together an entertaining article, my own enjoyment of analysing the plays I to go to feed into a review, or my own excitement at sharing the things I create with the friends and family who have always supported me.
Then, this week, I got an email telling me that my first ever payment for a piece of my writing had been deposited into my Paypal account. Let me tell you, I have never been so ridiculously excited by £5.99 in my life! It even made me glad for the first time that the pound is so weak against the dollar, since I was being paid by an American publisher and so actually benefitted from the appalling exchange rate.
Not only that, but the day that publication went up on the internet, another of my stories was posted on a different website, and the second edition of the monthly magazine came out, not only including one of my reviews, but also a piece of short fiction I’d written.
And I was back on top of the world.
It’s still important to remember the joy of the act of writing itself – and if that ever goes away, I’ll be retiring my trusty bluetooth keyboard forever. But it’s also rather fun to get ridiculously over-excited by things I’ve written actually getting published. I hope that never gets old.