Writing Anniversary


A year ago today, I got published for the very first time. After years of doubting myself, thinking that I would never make it, and piling rejections that I was not yet equipped to deal with, one little letter gave me just the kick I needed to carry on and showed me that persistence pays off. Even though the achievement was modest, I still look at the publication of my short story November 13th as the beginning of my writing career. The story still gets web hits very often and remained on the website’s top mystery stories for months.

I kept writing short stories and submitting them to publications. The rejections that followed didn’t affect me as much—they were still painful, but I consoled myself with the thought that one publication ought to accept my work eventually. Sure enough, one did. Then another, and another… Soon enough, I had editors approaching me to write for them, which was a major ego boost for me, especially since English is not my native language.

Don’t get me wrong, I still get rejected. In fact, I’ve been going through a rough patch lately. I had more rejections than I care to mention in the past few months. Out of everything that I have been through this year, being rejected definitely ranks as one of the worst. However, after a year of ups and downs in the writing business, I can confidently say that rejections don’t bother me as much, or at least I don’t take them personally. Sure, it’s painful when your proudest work sits on the editor’s desk for six months and then a rejection appears in your inbox, or when one appears on the next day of your submission, or when an editor can’t even take Sunday off and decides to give you the piece of news that is sure to ruin your weekend. But all in all, I move on, my reaction to rejections is, “How can I improve this story?” and “Who else can I submit this story to?”

My proudest accomplishments this year were an article about Lebanon that was published in The Mantle and another article that was published in a leading Middle Eastern women’s publication. I always console myself by rereading those two particular articles; it makes me realize how far I’ve come in a short period of time and how far I still have to go. There’s also the fact that I finished writing the first draft of two novels this year. Before, writing a novel seemed impossible to achieve. Now, I know that writing a novel—as daunting and demanding as it is—is not only possible but also a must. I finish every piece of work I start.

I’m hoping that I could finish my memoir before New Year’s Eve, that way I could say that I wrote three books this year. However, if that doesn’t happen, I will still have written two books, several articles, numerous short stories, tens of poems, and blog posts. So, all in all, I did well this year, especially given the events that I’ve been through– being in Lebanon amidst the turmoil and other personal incidents that almost ended my life. I’m very much pleased with my little achievements and I hope to have many more to share with you in the future.

How close have you come to your dreams this year?

26 thoughts on “Writing Anniversary”

  1. We write because of an inner motion. The keyboard is waiting and our fingers get itchy. Words shoot out of our finger tips as the rat a tat of a gun in full gear. Happy Anniversary and may there be many more.

  2. Happy anniversary Margaret!

    I’m an aspiring writer and I have started out with just short stories and soon I will be submitting to journals around the US. My journey is exciting in this new chapter of my life.

    Reading yours and others like yourself give keeps me motivated beyond belief! I know the rejections is a process that must be endured.

    I will follow your journey and hopefully you will in return, as I will be one day be published starting out as you have.

    I wish you much success in all of your writings!

    Keep your eye on the prize and your head to the sky, because dreams are the bedrock of your future.

  3. I love the idea of celebrating the anniversary of your first publication. I was so thrilled with mine (in a local arts newspaper), I framed it. I learned early on to celebrate even the tiniest hint of success—a handwritten note on a rejection thrilled me—because this writing business is full of so many disappointments. Congratulations on how much you’ve accomplished!

  4. Congratulations Margaret! I also started writing poetry about a year ago. I can tell you, rejection is commonplace for writers – we can call it our badge of honour which binds us together. It’s great that you can get yourself up, dust yourself off and move on to greater achievements.

  5. Congratulations on your writing anniversary Margaret. I remember the feeling of getting my first short story published and although it sometimes makes it more difficult to accept when you’re not successful, something else comes along after a while.

  6. I remember reading November 13th, and it being your first piece that I had read. I’m proud of you for your beautiful accomplishments, Miss Benison. YOU HAVE COME AN EXTREMELY LONG WAY IN BUT A YEAR!!! I know you will achieve your dreams, your writing reflects it. Just remember, Jo Rowling: Rejected 12 times, Harry Potter, the billion- dollar project that made her the very first writer to become a billionaire, after her first publisher warned her that “There is no money in children’s books.” and Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, rejected 30 times and he threw it in the trash, fortunately, Tabitha, his wife pulled it from the trash and the horror King was born. When you realize your dream, Margaret, those who rejected you will realize their nightmare in that they MISSED AN OPPORTUNITY. Plunge forward, keep up the succeeding spirit, stay the course and join King and Roland. I know you can. 🙂 🙂 Yes, YOU CAN!

  7. Wow, two books! You should be very proud! This year I decided to take control of my dream of having a novel published by the time I was 50, and I beat the deadline by nine days.

  8. You know, I kind of wonder if people read posts sometimes. Thank you for sharing your successes and failures with us. I think posts like these are so important for people like myself to remember, not everything is going to be accepted but that doesn’t mean I should stop working at it. As to my own successes this year, well… I really don’t have a lot, if any. I’ve been fairly lost this year.

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