Santa’s Best Pressie

images (2)This time last year, I blogged that all I wanted for Christmas was a big enough ego to call myself a writer. I must’ve been a good girl as the big man in the red suit with the white beard delivered and I’ve come a long way in my writing journey.

At the start of 2012, I had never been published and felt too shy to use the title ‘writer’ to describe myself. I felt that I needed an external endorsement to validate the claim and I got it in the form of several of my flash fiction pieces and short stories being published online, in anthologies and short listed in competitions. It’s not easy putting your work out there and I still have to work at fighting the self-doubt about how I’ll be judged based upon my writing. But like everything else in life, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Probably the most exciting high for me was hearing my story read out by a professional actress at the National Galleries of Scotland, ‘Inspired? Get Writing!’ event (there’s still time to enter this year’s competition deadline is 18/1/13). To hear words I’d written getting a laugh from the audience is a buzz I won’t forget in a hurry.  And it reminds me of one milestone that I still have to achieve, and that’s to read out my work in public. Of course, that requires me to keep submitting work which at the moment is pretty non-existent. But I’m hoping that 2013 will get me back on track with an ongoing submission schedule.

Completing my masters definitely gave me a huge boost and incentive to prove that I didn’t waste time and money on a writing qualification. It also provided me with an opportunity to take the time to find out who I am as a writer and where I want to go with my writing. And of course that would still be to fulfil the dream of a traditional publishing deal.

imagesBut it hasn’t all been success after success in 2012. The biggest and most painful blow was learning that having an agent doesn’t guarantee a book deal. To come close but not close enough hurts like hell.  But in the words of Kelly Clarkson, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” and the feedback I got from publishing editors will hopefully help to make my writing stronger.

543979_10200142443186502_1168765060_nAnother kick in the teeth was a complete knock-back from the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. I knew the odds against getting anywhere with it were high but I was still praying that I would be one of the lucky ones (congratulations to my fellow MLitt student, Angela Hughes who made the shortlist-yeh!).

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Chuffed to have my writing in Octavius, Causeway, Valve, New Voices Press & Paragram.

And of course throughout the year, there was a series of lesser “ouch” moments when submissions to literary journals and competition entries got nowhere.

But all in all, I can’t complain. I’m still on my agent’s books and I’ve got a MLitt to add to my name as well 6 pieces in a clutch of 5 mighty fine anthologies with my work featured.  So thank you Santa, I got what I asked for and more!

P.S. Dear Santa, if you’re reading this, Kelly Clarkson’s Greatest Hits CD would be much appreciated in case I need a reminder that, “What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter…” And I promise not to sing it out loud! Well, maybe just in my car when I’m driving alone…

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4 thoughts on “Santa’s Best Pressie

  1. Go Helen! Keep up the hard work. Your spoken words have been making me laugh out loud for years so I am not surprised your writing can do that to an audience. I am lucky to have read some of your early stories and always appreciated your potential. All the best for 2013!

  2. It sounds like you’ve had a pretty good year writing-wise. The knock-backs are painful but all you can do is let them spur you on to even better things. So glad to hear your agent is still around, long may that continue, and very good luck for 2013. Merry Christmas. X.

    • Thanks Louise. Yes, I can’t complain.The news that your novel will be published is fantastic! I’m looking forward to reading it some day soon. Have a lovely Christmas and all the best to you and yours. x

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