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One Year On . . .

Updated: Mar 12, 2020

It's hard to believe how much I've accomplished in one year. It's also hard to believe how little any of it registers as success. That is probably the best way to describe what it's like to be a writer; or any other creative for that matter.

I suppose I should open with a bit of history. It was about one year ago that a story first came to me. It was a very strange sensation. The idea took hold and would not let go, to the point where I wondered if there was something wrong with my brain. It became something I had to write. Or at least try to write if only to exorcise the story from my mind.

So I did what I normally do: Jumped in with both feet. I had never written proper fiction before, so I told myself I would write a short story and see where it took me. It led me through a tale about a young man who did not fit the wealthy society into which he was born. The youth dreamed of adventure and glory like that lived by his grandfather. He set out to live that dream. He was soon battling literal and metaphorical monsters in the woods and hills and towns of the borderlands.

I still have the first bound copy of that short story on my shelf. I have not re-read it. But my wife liked that version (it had some merit, anyway) and my first test reader enjoyed it. When I asked that reader to mark it up, he replied, "I don't write in books." That was probably the best compliment I could have received. So I continued. I finished the first real draft a few months later, submitted it prematurely, entered an international writing competition, lucked into a fantastic writers' group (thanks Rémi), entered more competitions, have endured endless rejection, and wrote the second draft of my novel.

One year on, I find that I've written around 100,000 words of speculative fiction, including a novel, three short stories and five pieces of flash fiction, two of which actually placed in separate rounds of an international competition. I received several pieces of personalized feedback on rejection, my novel is very nearly complete (for real this time) and I'm about to make this website live. Pretty snazzy. Maybe the website will help me feel more like a real writer.

My goal for 2020 is to not only get published, but to actually get paid for what I write, ideally by a professional market. What is a professional market? The Societies that Be do not all agree on that point, but it is generally agreed that a professional rate is eight cents per word. So that is my goal. Though I will settle for six. Well, five.

So, I am appropriately hygge, eating garlic cheese bread and European pepperoni while drinking wine and listening to music that was already classic when I was young, while writing this blog. I will soon continue to revise "Springtide Harvest", which has come a long, long (long) way since I began writing it roughly 360 days ago.

Happy New Year and a fine 2020 to everyone out in the void. I hope you are all as cozy as I am on this frozen day in Canada.

Yours in trust, hope, faith, etc.,

Jeremy Mitchell

Ottawa, Ontario

December 31, 2019

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