Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A desk of my own

My author biog in Mslexia makes mention of the fact that I have been redecorating in order to make space for my very own desk; finally, it's done: I've got a desk of my own. For the first time in nearly fifteen years, there's a place in the house that's mine, all mine (sometimes I will share...maybe).

It's an odd feeling to have somewhere to 'work' - that's what writing feels like now that there's a specific place to do it. Of course, I sit at the desk preparing seminars and handouts, marking essays and giving feedback on fiction; these things have always been in the 'work' category, but having a specific place to write is helping me to begin to think of my writing as work too.

Almost exactly two years ago I got my first rejection letter. I tried very hard to ignore the voice in my head that said, 'See, you're rubbish. No-one wants to read your stupid stories. You're wasting your time when you could be doing more worthwhile things, like cleaning the house.' I sent the story somewhere else straight away - it was rejected there too, but I kept trying and it wasn't long before it was accepted.

Of course, a solitary acceptance didn't make me think of myself as a writer (I'm still not there - I've got a few more arbitrary hurdles to jump). I had to laugh this morning when I read Debs Riccio's latest post at the Strictly Writing blog: '10 Ways to Stay Unpublished'. Debs's list reminds me of my arbitrary hurdles, and of how easy it is to become discouraged. I'm innately pessimistic, perhaps that's part of the reason why it's taken me so long to get a desk - 'What will happen if I get a big, lovely desk and then never write anything worth publishing ever again? The desk will be a monument to my baseless optimism...' Recently, I've been trying to make fun of my pessimism. There's a line in the Lion King: 'I laugh in the face of danger, ha-ha-ha!' - I'm trying to laugh in the face of failure.

Since my first rejection two years ago, I've had fifteen stories accepted. I'm hoping that having a desk of my own - somewhere to work - will lead to a few more acceptances and some more exciting firsts in the coming two years.

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