36; or, 35 in retrospect

Happy birthday to me! 🎵

The baby is not being the most cooperative when it comes to letting me have writing time, but I’ve still managed to complete an actual story for the June prompt challenge and a short piece that I’ve sent out to my critique group. If I try to take a look at my daily or weekly output through word count, I will cry. It’s my party and I don’t particularly want to cry, so I’m just celebrating how awesome it is that I wrote two stories in the last four-ish weeks. Go, me!

Birthdays, of course, are the start of a new year. My new year.

One year ago was opening night for my theatre’s summer Shakespeare: the universe granting my biggest birthday wish. Since then, I’ve had a baby! I knit my first sweater (and many other things besides)! I and my family have stayed safe and healthy despite a global pandemic *knock on wood*! I started a writing support/cheering group! I got serious about submitting short stories!

Somehow, I’ve found myself an official working writer, as defined by Mur Lafferty: if you are writing and submitting, you are a working writer. I’ve studied craft and taken classes and written a story that makes every other story I’ve ever written pale in comparison. I’ve had 16 rejections and six of them were personal.

16 sounds like a lot. Ok, it is a lot. Especially considering my previous record for rejections in a year was maybe four (because that’s all I sent out!) and many years I didn’t have any (because those years I never tried). It hasn’t even been quite a full year since I started. But they don’t bother me. Yes, I’m disappointed and I’d really like an acceptance now, please and thank you, but they don’t really get under my skin.

Maybe that’s just because the novelty of it all has yet to wear off. Largely though, it comes down to agency–recognizing what is and is not in my power–and managing expectations. (And brain chemistry! I cannot underscore enough the importance of brain chemistry that lets me actively celebrate rejections.) No one owes me an acceptance and the odds are stacked against me, so I expect rejection. I control the writing. I control sending my stories out in the world. And that is where my control ends.

So 35 was the year I became a working writer. While pregnant during a global pandemic. Let’s see what 36 has in store…

***This post originally published on Patreon.

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