Let’s say, my greatest triumphs have been nothing more than dreams. From scoring the winning try for Wales (recurrent) to performing with my two fellow musicians at the Celtic International Festival in Lorient. But I suspect you’re not really interested in rugby, nor in Celtic folk music. And you want more than just dreams. So I’m going to have to come back down to earth and put a thick straight line through the word greatest. With that word out of the way being honest is going to be much easier.
The first triumph in line was that I actually stuck at it. My beginnings were quite inauspicious. I joined a local writing group, just because it somehow fascinated me. I also wanted to make some friends in a town I’d just moved to. It was in French and the first evening, rather the first part of the first evening, can be qualified as being little short of a disaster. We had each received a word prompt and I didn’t understand my word. The group leader wouldn’t let me look it up in a dictionary either. “Just write what comes into your mind,” he cajoled. I did. I even went back the next week and the week after. And I’ve been sticking at it ever since through the good and the bad times.
The next triumph was getting published. It was an unlooked for one. Here I was minding my own business, churning out some texts on my blog and getting comments expressing appreciation and more useful ones telling how I could improve my writing, when out of the blue an email flattered (or whatever the virtual equivalent of that wonderfully onomatopoeic word is) into my computer’s mailbox. And suddenly I read myself into being invited to participate in an exciting new project… and I would soon be published.
My hardest fought triumph was reaching the end of two particularly difficult stories and hearing people say how much they were liked. I’m not quite sure how much of that praise is due to me and how much due to those (editor, beta readers) who helped me see the weaknesses in the story (how I hated you for that, LOL), helped me see the potential of the idea and helped me translate that potential into actual words.
One danger with triumphs; they can be short lived. A few years ago I attended a regional gathering of writing groups not far from where I lived. Various writing workshops were on offer and I tried my hand at poetry. A local poet ran the session and she was very inspiring. The poem I wrote was appreciated by most of those who heard it read, that evening. It even won a prize. I couldn’t wait to get home and read it to my wife. After all, it was dedicated to her. Her less than enthusiastic reception hit me like the proverbial bucket of cold water.
And to close… well I’m still sticking at it. Which brings us full circle. So I’d better stop before I start repeating myself. Now how many of my beta readers have warned me about that?