I'm leaving London tomorrow. My stay here has been interesting, not so much for the tourist attractions I've visited (very few), but for the milestones I've achieved on a personal level (many).
As I wrote last week, I've recently sold a short story to an American publisher. I've since read that this publisher accepts maybe 5% of manuscripts submitted. When I ran my magazine, Reid's Magazine, many years ago, my acceptance rate was similar. It's rather gratifying to know that I'm at last, after so many years of trying, in that small percentage.
As we all know, FaceBook advertising is now directly linked to the subject matter of our posts. Having told my FB friends the above news, every time I log on I see an advert for a course on how to write a best seller. This raises a couple of issues with me. Best Sellers are, by definition, are very small percentage of the overall market.
And secondly, can you teach someone to be creative in the writing sense? I would argue that while it is possible to teach someone about all the background information necessary, it isn't possible to teach creative writing. You can teach an art student how to draw, but that doesn't make him Leonardo da Vinci or Jackson Pollock. Teaching a student creative writing (the lower case is intentional) doesn't make her Shakespeare or Charles Dickens.
And yes, I did complete some courses years ago. The main thing I learned was that I already knew how to write.
However, like any skill, it takes time as well as passion. Some writers seem to instinctively know how to build a story, some have to work it out. It seems I am one of the latter.
All this from selling one story? No, I have had other work accepted over the years at a local level. But this is the first accepted internationally that I will be paid for.
I haven't seen as much of London as I would have liked, because I'm working on another story. (The underlying theme is an ancient war between the old gods and the new.) I managed to see Greenwich, and plan to return to see the West End, which I've missed completely. But then I never seem to travel like a tourist anyway.
Home, at the moment, is two cardboard boxes being sent onto my next place of (semi-permanent) residence, and a large, green suitcase I bought at a charity shop in Chelmsford for £10.
What is home, anyway? This move is harder than the previous ones, largely because I've found, at last, my true writing "voice". I'm on a writing mission, which I'll tell you more about in these posts. However, the real world intervenes. I still have to eat, I still need somewhere to sleep, and if I'm going to write, I need somewhere to plug in the laptop and connect to the internet.
Lately I've found myself thinking it would be good to have a space I can call my own. I'm not yet sure what this means in practical terms, I'll see what the universe sends my way.
Another factor I have to consider is that I do need people. Although I need space and time to write, I can't sever contact with the real world. Real people are an endless source of raw material, every one with an interesting story of his or her own. People are fascinating, and I genuinely like them.
The weather this week has not been good for photos, plus I've been writing, so the photos on this page are from my archives.