11 years

Jay Lake had a post the other day that really sort of startled me. He says:

I got serious about writing, as in regular workshop attendance and story submittals, in 1990. I sold my first short story in 2001. That’s eleven years of wandering in the wilderness that all aspiring writers emerge from, working my tail off, collecting my rejections and trying, trying, trying to get better. Add to that my first small press novel sale in 2004, my first trade press novel sale in 2005, and you can see my arc is years-long.

Why is that startling? After all, that’s basically the same story that every author has. It is startling because Jay Lake is a guy who’s A) writes really, really fast, and B) is held up as a super talented up-and-comer, a new guy to the business whose career is really taking off. From the point of view that he’s only been making sales for 8 years, he is a new comer. From the point of view that he wrote for 11 years before making a sale…he’s been around as long as everybody else.

And I ain’t no Jay Lake.

It doesn’t really change anything, in fact, it just confirms what everybody in the world already told me. Right around 10 years or so seems to be a magic number. If I can hang in that long, and I think I can, then I will have earned it. If anything, this makes me more determined to get there.

But I think these posts are going to stay private for a lot longer than I was hoping they would.


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