So it’s that time of year again. Time to look back. Time to look forward.
For me, a year of contrasts. In many ways, my best year ever, certainly on the publication front, with seven stories out:
- “The Key To El-Carim’s Heart” – Daily Science Fiction, Dec 2013.
- “The Clay Farima” – Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Aug 2013.
- “The Bargain” – Daily Science Fiction, May 2013.
- “The Unforgiven Dead” – Magic Creatures From Celtic Mists – Anthology, Artema Press, April 2013.
- “Three Kisses” – Daily Science Fiction, January 2013.
Only a couple of years ago I was wondering if I would ever get anything accepted and published. Ever. At all. So, really, this is great. More than great.
But it’s also been a frustrating year. There is no magic point — at least, certainly not one I’ve reached yet — beyond which your writing suddenly becomes effortless and every story automatically publishable. Of course there isn’t. Just because you’ve had a story accepted before doesn’t mean your next story will get anything other than a form rejection. There is no Rubicon, no sudden “levelling up”, or club you join with a secret handshake (or if there is, I haven’t received my invite yet — hint hint), no flawless author magically emerging from a papery chrysalis of rejection slips, no golden ticket; each story and each submission stands and falls on its own merits, in competition with great stories from great authors, all vying for attention on the editor’s desk.
So the only thing to do is to concentrate on the variables you control. The continued practice of your craft. The amount of work you produce and send out. Revise, re-target, carry on. Inch towards that elusive destination, that place where your words are finally perfect, your story greater than the sum of its parts. Where concept, theme, plot and character combine in a nirvana where nothing you could change, or add, or subtract, could make it any better.
Yeah. I know. That place doesn’t exist.
But that’s no reason to ever stop trying to reach it.