Yesterday’s email brought an offer to reprint a story of mine in an anthology that will also include several of my writing heroes. I’ll give details when I’m free to do so, but right now that’s not the point. The thing is, reprint offers and especially sharing a Table of Contents with other writers I enjoy and respect are a couple of my favorite things. My very first professional sale had me sharing a ToC with Roger Zelazny, and how cool was that? Then there was this most recent touch of something fine.
Which got me thinking, or more precisely, remembering. I’ve worked with and without writer’s groups, mostly without. One thing you sometimes get from a writer’s group that you don’t get as often working strictly alone is a little dash of perspective. In an earlier version of the Writer’s Group With No Name we had a member who was working on a romance novel. We’d read parts of it and thought it promising, but the story wasn’t coming quickly or easily for her. In the meantime, most of the other members of the group were working on short fiction, and a few of us were selling. At times the meetings would turn into gripe sessions about slow markets, slower payments, incomprehensible editorial decisions, the usual. All true and the bane of writers for practically ever, but our romance writer, working hard but still with nothing in shape to show an editor, was not impressed with the bitching.
She: “I can’t imagine what that’s like.”
She: “Whenever you go to the mailbox, or open your email, there’s always the chance of getting a sale, or something fine happening.”
Me: “Well, most of the time that doesn’t happen.”
She (shrugging): “So? But it could happen. It does happen. Any given day, something wonderful might come to you.”
That pretty much shut me up, because I knew it was true. The reality is that there’s a lot not to like about this avocation. It’s hard work—if you don’t believe me, try it—and making a living is next to impossible and, well, I have my list and any other working writer has one too. But any given day, any given moment…. So long as we’re working, and putting our work and ourselves out there in the world, there’s always a chance. During the long cold dark periods when absolutely nothing is happening, and it feels like nothing ever will happen ever again, I try to remember that.