The accepted wisdom is that you must write your goals down, that committing them to paper makes them more real, and more likely to happen.
I do write down major goals at the start of each year, which always include something specific like “get an agent” as well as more generic goals like “stay on track with writing projects”. But there are other goals that remain unwritten.
Achieving one of these “secret goals” – the ones I don’t dare to write down or speak out loud to anyone – is a major victory. So I am over the moon to celebrate my latest dream come true.
The contents list for Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror (volume 6) has been announced, and my name is on it. I am out-of-my-skin excited to have my story appear in an anthology alongside some of my writing heroes, people whose work I’ve admired for so long. Award-winning, acclaimed writers such as Angela Slatter, Kaaron Warren, Deborah Biancotti, Jason Fischer, Garth Nix, Kathleen Jennings and many more.
I didn’t expect my story, Ninehearts, to be accepted by the anthologies’ editors but I sent it along anyway. I also hadn’t expected it to be published in the first place it appeared, Australia’s The Big Issue magazine. I had originally written Ninehearts for a specific project, and it was rejected. I made some edits, sent it out a few more times to different markets, and got more rejections (I received one rejection within an hour – that hurt!). Then, on a whim, I sent it to The Big Issue for their annual fiction edition. It’s a difficult market to crack and I’d been rejected by them several times before. And yes, the magazine had been on my secret goals list for about 5 years. When the story was accepted I was beside myself with excitement.
And now, this same little 2,000 word story has ticked another secret goal off my list. For me, it’s one of those moments when I feel I’m accepted as a “real” writer, good enough to have my name sit alongside the heavy hitters in speculative fiction. When I received the first rejection for Ninehearts I could never have foreseen where this story would end up. (In fact, I may have have thrown a teeny-tiny tantrum and/or rocked in a corner and cried.)
But this is what the writing life is all about. We send our stories out into the world never knowing whether someone else will love them, never knowing where they might end up. And sometimes, if we persevere through rejections and rewrites, one little story can make secret writing dreams – even the ones we never dare to speak – come true.