I thought I’d be a bit introspective today and talk about my tenth anniversary of being a “pro-author.” Meaning, it was ten years ago this year that I sold my first short story. Why does that make me a pro? Because I got paid for it, and, relatively speaking, I got paid pretty well. It was the first story I’d ever submitted for publication too and sometimes I think I was a better writer back then.
But, I was probably better because I agonized over every fucking word. Seriously. It took me forever to get anything done. So, maybe the writing was prettier, but the output was sad. I had to learn to not be so anal and, trust me, it took a while.
So, I know that’s one of the major things I learned in the last decade: Have fun. This isn’t surgery. As the Joker said in The Dark Knight, Why so serious????
Another thing I learned is that I love the small press. I love the shape and feel and look of small press books. I love the sense of family being in the small press gives you. Would it be cool if people were able to buy my books at the grocery store? Hell yeah. But there’s quite a bit of pressure in the larger markets too. Obviously.
And I’m not really a song-and-dance kind of person. I’ve always said that if writers wanted to get up in front of a group of people and entertain them, we would have become actors. So, readings? Hell no. Not if I can help it anyway. I’m socially awkward and more than happy to admit it. That part isn’t news. I’ve always been this way. You should ask my high school English teachers how I felt about giving oral book reports sometime. It’ll be worth a laugh, trust me.
Am I a successful writer? I guess that depends on your measuring stick. Some people have gone a lot further than I have in ten years, and kudos to them for it. They probably have more drive and ambition than I do. Maybe a little more luck, too.
Others will never in their lifetimes come as far as I have. So maybe I have more drive, ambition and luck than they do. I don’t know. But I do know that I’m pretty happy with where I am and where I’m going. Will I ever take it to the next level? Not sure, but I’ll probably try—when and if I feel ready to do so.
If I’m to believe what some folks are saying, 2009 promises to be a big year for me. There will be surprises for you, and probably for me too.
Being a writer is all I know and all I ever wanted to be. I’m living the dream already and for that, I’m blessed and thankful beyond words to everyone who helped me get this far in 10 short years. You guys are all amazing.
So, regardless of what happens in the next ten years, it’s all good. Like the song says, right here, right now. There is no other place I want to be.