I’ve just spent the last hour writing about myself. I have learned the following truths.
1. I am not very good at writing about myself
2. It is very difficult to compress your existence into a 75 word bio
3. It is very, very difficult to compress your existence into a 20 word bio
I’m already filled with dread at the idea of having to trawl through an external hard drive to find a photo of myself that I don’t hate. I’m even more terrified at the thought that if I fail to find one I will need to take a new photo of me. Ye gods.
There is, however, an argent thread amongst all this cumulonimbus.
I’m going to be in print for the first time.
The generally lovely and wonderful folk at Firewords Quarterly will be publishing my short story The Adamant Carbonisation Of Henry Spiller in their upcoming 4th issue, due to be released on 1st March. Quite fitting for a Welsh bloke to get published on St. David’s Day.
Without trying to blow it out of all proportion or get mushier than a chip-shop pea this is a big moment for me. You see, unusually for an aspiring writer I get moments of self-doubt. These moments generally last for the hours of daylight and darkness with obligatory breaks for self-loathing and procrastination.
Over the last couple of years I’ve had a lot of great feedback and encouragement from friends, family and fellow writers – all of whom I trust enough to not keep encouraging me if I was completely hopeless. All my story submissions were in a safe environment though – the now defunct Shortbread Stories published all of my work without question so there was never a fear of failure. Latterly I’ve submitted several pieces for the website I co-edit (Literally Stories) which have been scrutinised and shredded by my fellow editors – but even that is a safe environment. Four friends who happen to be fellow writers giving you transparent advice and critiquing is invaluable rather than scary.
I realised that the time was right for me to risk failure and submit a story to total strangers. In fairness my wife realised this a few months earlier. As did my very good friends Adam West and Denita Lawrence. You can probably add Tobias Haglund, Diane Dickson and Hugh Cron (the other proper writers that let me hang out on LS) to that list.
So after finally waking up and smelling the caffeinated beverage, choosing which story to submit should be painless, right?
Maybe I should send in a mediocre one that I’m not entirely sure about so that I won’t mind when it’s rejected?
Notice there is no if in that sentence only a when. Grow a set man FFS.
The internal debates were myriad and mostly laughable but in the end I convinced myself that the best policy was to choose what I believe to be my strongest piece and take it on the chin if (not when) no-one wants it.
So Henry Spiller got cut and polished (if you’ve read it that’ll be a really funny reference to the ending. If not it’ll be invisible to you except for me unnecessarily drawing your attention to it) and shipped it off to Firewords.
When the email arrived three weeks later confirming it was accepted I will admit that I cried. Not a lot and they were very manly tears but yeah, I did. In that brief moment it felt like anything was possible and that all the doubt was baseless. It also validated all the late night hours trying to get each piece I write to be the best I can make it.
In short it said: You can do this. So keep doing it.
So I’m going to.