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?