Before I jump into a bout of nostalgia and reflection of the last ten years, I'd like to take a second to recognize the atrocious, pointless invasion that is occurring on the other side of the world right now. I recognize that it's one thing to observe tragedy from a distance, and another to live through it. There are numerous ways to show support if you are able and wish to. From fundraisers, to the Red Cross, to booking stays and tours through organizations like AirBnB to get direct support into the hands of those living through this... for lack of better words: complete and utter bullshit.
Right... So... Ten years ago I was sitting in my undergraduate capstone class, trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life (FYI - still no clue, but just chilling sounds pretty good at this point) when my phone buzzed with an email. My first acceptance for a piece of writing... ever. The piece, a short horror story that took place in a hospital (go figure) was accepted into an anthology. Unfortunately, like so many small presses, the group that put the anthology into the world is no longer active, and since it was three laptops and several email addresses ago, my only copy of the story is a contributor's ARC sitting on my shelf - but ALAS! That acceptance for Snow & Cognac was technically the start of my writing endeavors.
And now it's been ten years... Ten. Years. When you're standing at the front end of a decade, it seems like an immense amount of time that will take beyond forever to navigate through. Looking back though? Probably common sense to a lot of people but, stars above it goes by so fast.
One thing I wish I did, but whether for ego purposes or something else, I did not, was keep track of how many rejections I've gotten since then. I know it's well over three hundred. Well over. But, I couldn't tell you a hard and fast number. What I can tell you, is that in ten years I've scored some wins:
All of them are catalogued here if you're interested at what ridiculous titles I came up with. And, while acceptances are a great, tangible way to track my writing over the past decade (I still can't believe it's been that long) the major thing I want to highlight from the last ten years are the people I've met and subsequently become close with. Editors, booksellers, fellow writers - especially the ones who put up with me every two weeks during our writing group - it's been so much fun working/playing/and just genuinely having fun talking about books, publishing, and words on the page. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Ten years is enough time to thoroughly experience peaks and valleys. And while the pluses definitely outweigh the minuses, sometimes getting through those low points is, well, it's fucking tough. Whether it's rejection, a sour contract, imposter syndrome, lack of inspiration/motivation, or a general why am I investing so much time to just be handed rejections again? Those stretches can wear on you.
But in the end, the wins are worth it. Whether they come fast and furious for a little while or are stretched out over years with the next one shimmering in the distance like an oasis, leaving you to wonder if you'll ever reach it. You will. Just keep writing and you will.
So, if you're a friend or family member who's been along for the ride with me since that first email - thanks for sticking with me. And for anyone who's ever picked up a story or piece of writing with my byline on it, thank you for reading. In a world with so much going on, I'm immensely grateful that you chose to spend a few minutes with something I've put out there.
Stay safe - see you in another decade