We’re nearly at the halfway point of 2016. It seems surreal and also tremendously unfair. Like just yesterday it was January and suddenly we are closing in on Midsummer. Many of you reading this will know by now that I went to Viable Paradise in the autumn getting in and actually going has had a huge impact on the way I view my writing career, or rather my aspirations of a writing career. Instead of seeing it as a someday maybe proposition I have come to realize that in a very real way it is happening right now. As a result I started to hustle in a way I never did before.
Since the start of the year I written eight new short stories, released a new podcast episode more or less every other week, worked on outlines for two different novels, completed round after round of edits for my first short story sale, started seriously looking into starting in Etsy shop for knitted goods that I’m making anyway, and somehow found myself on the social media team of Worldcon 75. Listed one after another like that it seems like I’ve been working on a lot of things. In the moment it doesn’t feel like that. It feels like I’ve been spending a lot of time watching TV shows and movies, and trawling Facebook. And what I’m beginning to realize is that this is the first year I’ve had to hustle for myself. Probably ever.
There are a lot of ways in which talent matters, but not all that surprisingly hard work matters more. I’ve been seeing some things come to me that I didn’t expect. For example, I’m moderating a panel with guests of honor Anne Leinonen and Catherynne M Valente at this year’s Finncon because I signed up for programming. I have publication coming up because of a blog post that I wrote and because the editors had the fortitude to work with me through my atrocious grammar and the weird mix of Finnish and English that always seems to come up when I try to write Finnish.
These are tiny little victories in the grand scheme of things but they are victories nonetheless. They give hope of bigger victories to come. Which makes it that much easier to hustle more. It’s part of the reason why I have this blog, even though I am, essentially, a nobody. Part of it is connecting with people who may or may not become readers of mine in the fullness of time, part of it is learning to put together a compelling essay/blog post one post at a time, and still another part of it is working to form my own thoughts into coherent and hopefully entertaining or useful bits of online content.
I have come to realize that though this year may be a year of hustle, it is to be the first of many of what will hopefully be a long and successful writing career. Whatever that means. But the definition of success is another post entirely.