As an aspiring writer who has yet to be published, nothing is more enticing, more gut-twisting, more giddy-inducing than the idea of being published. Seeing your own words in print, and more importantly the knowledge that someone else is seeing your words in print, is some sort of golden nirvana, a place where Gods such as Robert Jordan, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Steven Erikson, and a multitude of other deities lounge, spouting great words which are immediately converted into print.
In other words, it’s a big deal.
One of the reasons I finally cracked my knuckles and got around to creating this blog is because I am getting published. I still grin when I say that out loud. The Gods in their infinite wisdom, in this case the editors at Aurealis magazine, are publishing one of my short stories.
When I read the acceptance email I didn’t stop smiling for two hours. I was home alone and grinning like a madman. It’s how I imagine a man feels when a woman accepts his proposal. Only bigger. I rapidly replied agreeing to the contract, trying to hold back the multitude of thanks my fingers were itching to include.
Let me try to explain why being published is such a big deal. Being a writer is a solitary job. You sit like a Neanderthal, bent over a laptop, and disappear into a world that exists in your head. You spend hours and hours agonising over word choice, dialogue and similes. You perfect your world late into the night until you collapse exhausted into bed. When you finish you crane your neck up from the glowing screen and look around for someone to share the victory with. Invariably you’re alone. So you show your story to someone. Usually a family member or a partner or some unfortunate who once said they’d like to read your writing. You get compliments and a flush of warm satisfaction. If you’re lucky the sentiments are sincere. But here’s the catch; they’re your family. They’re polite.
For me being published is someone who doesn’t need to be nice to me saying they like my work. It is a professional in the industry saying all those lonely hours were worthwhile. It is confirmation that I can actually write, than I’m not just a kid whose mum puts his drawings on the fridge despite the complete lack of technique and form.
And, biggest of all, it is a spark of hope that the dream of being a writer might actually exist. A spark, but one that burns hot and bright.
My story, Remembering the Mimi, will be published in the May edition of Aurealis.
I’m still grinning like a madman