As a result of sitting down to make New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve been thinking about how magical it was to first publish a short story. It’s a feeling I have enjoyed reminiscing about, because it has dawned on me that somewhere along the way I may have lost it. And that is definitely something I need to work on in 2019!
I had submitted to The Stringybark Prize, an Australian History fiction competition, and had written a wacky little story about a plucky young girl hunting for a bunyip. For those of you who don’t know, a bunyip is a cryptozoological swamp monster (yes, I am a geek!). Being accepted into the anthology, Marngrook, was such a thrilling moment. I remember telephoning everyone in my family to tell them, eagerly anticipating the arrival of the contributor copies, and sharing them out with pride.
I am fortunate enough to have had some short stories published since, but it recently dawned on me that in my quest to achieve the larger goal of publishing a full-sized novel, I have been forgetting to see the magic in every little victory. I commented about this in a post I made on Instagram yesterday (please come and connect with me if you have an account – @mjmarsauthor) and a lovely member of the writing community replied to say that they were still waiting for that feeling, having not yet been published. This got me to thinking, have I been a bit of an arse for saying that the magic has dimmed somewhat? After all, I am always over the moon to have any small successes in the industry, and don’t mean to sound at all ungrateful. But then I realised I have to be honest. Writers as a breed are extremely hard on ourselves. We all have our goals and dreams and not reaching them can feel as though we’re failing, no matter what we achieve along the way.
So, this year I am determined to remember to feel the magic in every step, and to celebrate each ‘small’ victory. After all, they felt like huge victories a few years ago! There is no reason to believe that they are any less because I haven’t met my ‘dream’ goals. We are so tempted to put time limits and additional pressure on ourselves, or to belittle the steps we have taken toward our main objective, that we forget to appreciate exactly what we already have.
Regardless of where in the writing process we are, we can make magic happen every day. And we do.