Tempus Fugit


"We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries. But habit is a great deadener."
Samuel Beckett. Waiting for Godot.

The last time I visited this blog, I was dwelling  (perhaps a little overmuch?) on the speed with which life was hurtling by. Well, it will come as no surprise that it hasn't slowed down any. If anything, it seems to be accelerating, like my foot is to the floor and there's no way of lifting it off. 

I can't believe that it has been ten years since I made the decision to 'take my writing more seriously'... ten years since I won a writing competition which led to the publication of my first short story, and which gave me the confidence to try to establish myself as an author. Over that time I have, like most writers, been trying to fit my writing around work and family commitments, meaning that there have been whole swathes of time when I haven't managed to put any words down on paper at all. I have also, over this period, got married, moved house, acquired a dog, lost a parent, and managed to avoid Covid 19, while coping with fifteen months worth of lost income due to lockdowns. I have also, through the power of Zoom, managed to rejoin my former writing group, and I can't begin to tell you just what a lifesaver that has been.

Now, Christmas 2022 saw the publication of  'Bleak Midwinter: The Darkest Night' by the wonderful folks at Quill & Crow, which included my little tale 'Relke of the Russet Hair' - and I have two more stories due to come out in different publications during the course of this year, so that's a reason for celebration if ever there was one!

So I thought, having reached this significant anniversary, I would crunch the numbers in order to see just how well (or not) I'm doing on the writing front. Certainly, when boiled down to raw statistics, it provides food for thought, but also (I think) provides a certain amount of reason for optimism. 

So... over the period Feb 2013- Feb 2023 I have written 28 short stories, 2 Novels, and 1 Novella, which I have been sending out to agents/publishers on a fairly regular basis throughout the 10 years. Over this entire body of work, I have:

  • Had 6 stories accepted and published (or contracted to be published)
  • Received 76 rejections - 23 of which came with very positive feedback, while 13 submissions had no response at all
  • Had 3 stories shortlisted for publication, but ultimately rejected
  • Won 4 writing competitions
  • Have 8 'live' submissions that I have yet to hear back from
So what can we glean from this? Well, the first, and most positive thing to take from these statistics is that with 6 stories published (or in the pipeline to be published), I finally feel able to shake off the ever present 'imposter syndrome', and actually call myself a writer. The second thing to note is just how unbelievably hard it is to get anything accepted for publication. Those who know me will know that I spent the first 12 years of my career as an actor. Now, actors are used to rejection, but believe me, finding work as an actor is child's play compared to getting a publisher to take your work. And although most publishers tell you not to expect feedback as they receive such a vast volume of submissions, I have been heartened by how many have taken the time to do just that.

So my conclusion? All things considered, I'm not unhappy with the journey so far, and as I've already said, the coming year looks like being a good one, publication wise. But I'm telling you, if I haven't had at least one of my novels published by this time next decade, there'll be hell to pay... 


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