You can always tell an Irish person by the fact that they’re obsessed with talking about the weather. I’m afraid to do a search on this blog to find out how many times I’ve mentioned it so far; I’d probably break the internet if I tried it, so I won’t.
This being said, I have to mention the weather today. It’s atrocious.
There’s wind. There’s rain. There’s freezing coldness in abundance. At least there’s no snow this week (at least, not where I live), for which I give grateful thanks to whatever deity/ies may be listening.
This would all be fine, of course, if the weather wasn’t supposed to look like this:
It’s depressing to look out the window and see grey, rain-lashed, puddle-dashed concrete when what you want to see is a hillside full of nodding daffodils. My everyday life is soundtracked by sneezing, nose-clearing, voices thickened by sore throats, and people complaining (I’m not excluding myself from this list), and I really can’t wait for the weather to lift, the sun to come out and a little bit of warmth to soak into my sodden country. Irish people are a whole different race when they’ve had a bit of sunshine. We can be troll-like in wet, cold weather, but in the sunshine we turn magically into poets, raconteurs and professional comedians.
In writing news, I’ve been making good on my promises to keep submitting work for publication. This week, I’ve submitted work to one competition, and submitted two more pieces to literary magazines. I’m still pinching myself at the thought that over the next few weeks, three of my stories will be seeing the light of day in three separate magazines. It’s a feeling I’m not sure words can adequately describe. An added benefit is that with every small success, submitting work to new places gets easier and easier – you feel better about yourself when you can say in your covering email that ‘My work has appeared in X Magazine, Y Magazine and Z Magazine’. It makes you a better prospect for a new publisher if you’ve been published elsewhere, and it also makes you feel like less of a spoofer and more of a professional (albeit an unpaid one).
That’s not to say it’s an easy thing to do, this submitting pieces of your heart to the cold scrutiny of an Editor. In fact, it’s been one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. And it’s only when I started talking about it here, and on Twitter, that I realised how many other people struggle with it, too. Other writers, many of whom I deeply admire and whose talent leaves me in the shade, find it hard to summon up the courage to submit their work to journals, periodicals and magazines. I hope that my efforts will encourage them, just as their efforts may encourage me in the future. The writing karma-wheel spins on.
In April, I’m planning to get back into ‘Eldritch’. It’s been so long since I’ve mentioned it that I’ll forgive you if you’ve forgotten all about it. I’ve had a break from it for long enough now to come back to it with fresh eyes, and I’d love to get it edited, trimmed, tidied-up, scrubbed and tied in a bow, and flung around to agents and publishers before the end of April. I think having a small clutch of publications in my sweaty, hopeful fist will look good when I try to find a home for my precious little novel, so the work I’ve put in all during March won’t have gone to waste. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.
It can be hard to keep going at times, and occasionally the inspiration/motivation engine will burn low. Finding out that a story you’ve loved, sweated over, tweaked and fiddled with until it’s nearly driven you cross-eyed has been selected for publication is like having a shovelful of coal thrown into your writing furnace, and it’s a very welcome boost. The only problem is, those shovelfuls of coal can be rare and unexpected, so it’s hard to rely on them to keep you stringing one word behind another. Then, I guess the beginning stages of any writing career are like the rainy, cold, unwelcoming weather we’re having at the moment – hard to put up with, depressing to live through, but a necessary precursor to the sunnier days that will follow.
If I can believe that sunnier days are on the way, I’m certain I can believe that things will – one day – turn up golden for my words, too.
Happy Friday, all. Stay warm, stay well, stay writing!