20 December 2022
It was about five years ago that I decided to become a writer again, after fifteen-odd years of an adulthood that perpetually forced writing into the background. I didn’t even realize how far I had gotten from the pursuit that had dominated my childhood attention until I tried to find my way back to it. It felt like starting to climb a mountain from the bottom of a valley. Not only did I have to train myself in all of the things I had never been formally taught, but I also had to do it while balancing single parenthood, full-time employment, and all of the other responsibilities that come along with being grown-up. Most importantly, I needed to establish the Holy Grail of a writing career: the consistent writing habit that leads to getting projects done.
I have made progress in these past few years. I started writing fiction again: First, short, plotless sketches, then flash fiction, then short stories. A little over two years ago, I started getting stories published. Over this past year, however, the progress went internal. While I have few external wins to tally up, I feel I was successful. That consistent habit solidified. I wrote longer pieces. I learned that stories take the time they need to take. I spent more time trusting the work rather than stressing about submissions. Some years you’ll have the list of publications, some years you’ll have the nebulous but essential blob of growth and re-sensitized instinct.
I only submitted two stories for publication in 2022 and both were pieces I wrote in 2020 that I still thought had some life in them. One was declined. The other one was accepted and will be published in Yellow Mama in February of 2023.
The story that didn’t land, “The Wind Chimes,” had been declined once before. It’s an odd duck and instead of trying to find it another home, I made it a home on my own website. I wrote another story this past year, “The Artist at Work,” that, similarly, I didn’t know where it belonged. I put it on my website as well.
I wrote three other new and complete stories in 2022, two of which I intend to edit a bit more before submitting them. The other one will show up on my website sometime soon.
On the non-fiction front, I returned to the practice of writing an essay for each edition of my newsletter. Since I just did this in October, I only have two essays completed, but I’m enjoying the return. I put the essays on their own pages, separate from the newsletter archive, on my website.
Some years you’ll have the list of publications, some years you’ll have the nebulous but essential blob of growth and re-sensitized instinct. We’ll see where we are in another year.