This was one of my goals to achieve by the end of the year, and as the year comes to an end, I’m feeling pretty pleased to have achieved it. Two of my short pieces have been published in two different anthologies alongside other, brilliant, local, Welsh writers. Many of them are young writers, students, and for many of them it is also their first time being published. It feels lovely to be part of the Welsh literary community right now.
One of the anthologies was the Robin Reeves Prize for Young Writers 2015, which I submitted to and got shortlisted for. The anthology is called How to Exit a Burning Building and it has been published by Parthian Books in collaboration with Welsh Writers’ Trust. More details can be found here.
The other anthology, Metropolitan Volume 1, is a collection put together by Cardiff Metropolitan University Press. It includes work by past and present students, and I love that I got the chance to be included in it just before I graduated! Details found here.
When you’re an undergraduate, or even a graduate, you don’t really think you’ll get to this point. I don’t think there will ever be a time when I don’t reflect on the short stories that I wrote in my first year and my frustration at the time when I received low marks for them, only to get better over the years, get higher marks, and understand why. Yes, writing is a subjective and an impossible discipline to standardise and mark. And yes, writers are writers without outside affirmation. If you write, you are a writer, regardless of whether you’re published. Yet we write in order to be able to use the word as a way of connecting with and contributing to the world. Being published means that someone formed a connection with my story, and that my work isn’t just limited to myself. It is not so much the fame, the seeking of validation, but wanting to put my stories out there. Or that is what it means for me, personally, anyway. At the end of the day, it is something I want to do for a living, and being published, even on a small level, lets me know that I am on the right path towards it. It is motivating when I begin to question where I am going with my life.
I guess, all in all, this year has been good to me generally. I may not be completely where I want to be, but I am one step closer. Here’s wishing 2016 is equally or even better, and wishing anyone reading this the best in every way, too.