Charlie's Blog

Seeing the Fruits of My Labors

Monday, May 29, 2023 2:33 AM

            For me as a writer, this has been an incredible year. It started last fall when I submitted stories and poems to several anthologies and to a magazine. 

            But it wasn't until this year that those bore fruit. Well, except for one anthology. I heard from that late last year. Still, they will be published this year.

            As I've said before, I've been working on being a writer off-and-on since college. I started in high school, but I didn't really start submitting things until college. I had my first paid sales for my poetry, my first short story sale six years after I graduated. It was nine years before I got my second publication of a short story and almost that long between poetry sales. In fact, it was Johnny Worthen wo talked me into joining the Genre Writers Infinite Monkeys because they were putting out an anthology. I joined, and thanks to Paul Genesse, I had a story accepted for the anthology. It needed a lot of work, and Paul helped me get it ready. Johnny also encouraged me to submit a poem to the LUW Writing Contest, now the Olive Woolley Bert Awards. One of my poems won first place that year and it got me back into writing. 

            I've had a few mentors over the years. I've attended a lot of writing workshops and conferences. I've written a lot of poetry, over a dozen short stories, and four novels (so far). I've published over 30 poems, 9 short stories, and hope to publish novels in the coming years. 

            So many things have helped me be a better writer. I'm part of four writing groups. One for poetry, one for genre fiction, one for general writing, and one for horror. I get something different from each group. But most of all I improve by writing, getting critiques, and helping critique other writers. I get help from submitting—and being rejected.

            Reading and looking at other writers' work, plus learning more about the craft of writing, helps me be a better writer. But mostly, it's writing. 

            This year, I'll have poetry in four anthologies, a short story in another, and I've sold poetry to two magazines. That's more than I've ever done in a year. But for me, it's not enough. I need to keep at it. I submitted a poem to another anthology. I submitted 20 poems to a contest. I'm going to send out another wave of poems and find new magazines to submit to. 

            And my goal for this year is to have one novel ready for an editor. And write another one. I'm not sure if it'll be a sequel to my fantasy romance or my cozy mystery. Both need sequels. Plus, I need to really devote more time to rewriting my novels. One more short story to polish and one other that's in the first-draft stage I want to finish. And there will always be more poetry to write. 

            It really does take a decade and more, but I'm finally enjoying the journey! I have a long way to go, but things keep looking up. Last week I participated in a Human Library. Next month I'm doing a poetry presentation. I hope to do another one at a conference later this year. Bit by bit, day by day, month by month, and year by year. The journey is just as important as the destination.