Another thing to celebrate

My husband and I got married twice. In November of 1984 we had a handfasting. The ceremony had no legal standing, but it was what we wanted – or at least what I wanted. Twenty-one years later, give or take a bit, David talked me into marrying him legally according to the laws of the Province of Ontario. That was what he wanted.

All this to say that I have two wedding anniversaries every year. Once, when I insisted on going out for dinner for the November one, David said, “We had an anniversary in August! How many do you want?”

The answer is that I’ll take all the celebrations I can get.

I was reminded of that today by Mae Empson, who blogs here about her life as a writer. She knows the date she made her first submission, and the date she made her first sale. I don’t know either of those dates. I know my first paid publication was September 1990, but after that, well, I couldn’t even tell you the month my book “Erik the Viking Sheep” came out. I know the year – will that do?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I still have to do, and not celebrating how far I’ve come. In March of 2008 I began to take writing seriously, to the extent that I started both writing regularly and submitting stories for publication. It took me a long time to find markets, to figure out the details of submitting work, even to sort out where I should be sending my work. I placed four fiction pieces in 2008. Two of them were paid work, and two were not. In 2009 I placed ten, three of which were paid. In 2010 I sold 25 stories and poems; a couple of the publications closed up before my work appeared, so I’ve taken it back.

Now it’s August 2011. This week I got a contract from The Old Farmer’s Almanac for a piece. This week I also got a monthly humour column in my local paper. I’ve made 120 fiction submissions this year, and eighty non-fiction pitches. I’ve put much more emphasis on my non-fiction and my novel-writing, rather than on writing and submitting short fiction. At the same time, I’ve still managed to have ten pieces of fiction accepted this year, and I’m hoping for a few more by the end of the year. (Okay, what I’m really hoping for is to get my novel done and accepted!)

I’m really glad Mae said something about her own celebration, because I think I’m overdue for one myself. It’s entirely possible to get completely wound up in the business of writing and forget to take time to be happy that I have this great job. Not only do I love what I do, but the job regularly hands out goodies in the form of praise and publication on top of the pay.

Thanks for the reminder, Mae!

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