Last Writes?

This could be the last post of 2022 but I’m making it count. I am very happy to announce my story Lunedi has been published by the good people at The Primer. These publishing wizards have created a magical, multi-media, multi-sensorial feast of which I am humbled to have contributed to. And in doing so, I have climbed a learning curve, as this journal features a recording of me reading my work for the first time. And that in itself is a tale. Anyway, the link to the publication is here. Please take a look at the entire journal, it is truly full of gems.

Photo by veeterzy on

So this is it. The year my writing was accepted and published in more places than ever before, from Paris to the Philippines, India to New York. I’m confounded, and I’m not done yet.

This year has been a year of figuring things out. I’ve discovered a language for understanding the unnameable problems I’ve encountered over the course of my life and found terms to explain things. Here’s a couple of them. I only mention them here because it’s pertinent to writing and may be useful for others. It’s about goals. People are taught to have goals. At this time of year one may call them resolutions although I have never made one for New Year’s. Most people think in terms of end goals, in creative endeavours this could mean a completed novel, or a publication, or a big exhibition, or a paid public performance. However, there is another type of goal; the process goal.

Most people if they know me a little and haven’t seen me for awhile, assume I will one day have a book coming out. They are end goal thinkers, and question the point of *waves hands* all of this if there isn’t a book end goal. I now have answer for these people. I don’t think in terms of end goals for writing. To me, writing is a process goal. The more I write, rewrite, edit, research, engage in finding and matching writing to journals, the better I get at all of it. This is the goal: to improve, to learn more, find more challenges, and along the way, occasionally bask in the sudden joy of a publication acceptance to keep me buoyed. Allowing my natural focus to remain on process enables me to follow my interests, vary what I write, and enjoy even the most mundane editing tasks, and to drop and take up whatever I can when life intervenes. These processes keep me writing and thinking with less doubt and struggle. I can abandon a story for 20 years, find it again, rewrite it, edit it, and send it out and get it published, because I have grown and benefited as a writer and editor as part of the processes I enjoy. Nothing is wasted if it is about the process.

If I had to switch to an end goal, I would become stuck. A book is a big, static, looming thing and progress towards it would be incremental, and sometimes painful. At completion (if it ever happens) there would be no guarantee this book would be readable or publishable, or bought if published. But I know me. I would become tired, scared, and bored, and would likely abandon the book end goal to take up smaller process goals before it even became a book. In fact I have, it’s happened before. The story published this week Lunedi evolved out of something meant to become a novel, or at least a novella.

This is not to say I will never write a book, or that I don’t have ambitions, but the joy for me is in the constantly moving processes towards improving, perfecting a rhyme here, landing an opening sentence there, and seeing each small piece reaching its publishable form. As I said in a previous post, all my writing is a mosaic, and I love honing and shaping each tile before I lay it down in exactly the right spot at the right time, every tile a piece closer towards making a complete picture. I think in terms of mosaics, little doable bits at a time, where the patterns made along the way are as entertaining as the (as yet mythical) entire picture. I have never thought in terms of a vast mural where I’d have to haul buckets of paint up ladders for years to one day complete a picture others will see and enjoy from all distances, but I will only ever recall up close, the rough surface, my aching hand on the brush, odour of paint and dust in the air around me.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on

This is it, the Writing Update for 2022.

  • Rejections: 169
  • Pending: 15
  • Acceptances by publisher: 33
  • Acceptances by work: 45
  • Published: 42
  • 2023: 2 pieces accepted for publication.