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Experience ...

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want. There may perhaps be no truer adage than that. So many times, we go into things with certain expectations, and more often than not they don't end the way we envision them. That's life, isn't it? Going into this writing thing, I didn't really know what to expect. I figured some people would buy my books, maybe have a book signing or two. That's about it I am great at tempering expectations, almost to a fault.

But since January 2019 (when I sat down to write Souls harbor) I've published a poetry chapbook and four novels, as well as a collection of short stories. I have a novella due out in October, and another later on. I have also landed a dozen short stories in literary journals, and two in anthologies. Most of the reviews have been favorable, with some downright ego-boosting. I have a cool website and have met some really cool people that I cherish. I'm not a New York Times best seller yet, but what I have accomplished is not too shabby either.

Along the way, I've collected hundreds upon hundreds of rejections. They all sting, but they've taught me things. Writing, all writing, is subjective. Be it newspaper articles or novels. People like what they like and that's okay. I've learned that not everyone likes my genre, my writing style, my subject matter, or maybe just me. And that's okay too.

At its core, writing is sharing parts of yourself, and perhaps that is the most difficult to overcome. The fear of rejection can be paralyzing. I still get nervous when I have a new release coming out. I care how it will be received, but now, I realize that it might not be for everyone. All I ever wanted was to get the stories out of my head and onto pages and to share them with the world. That itself is a mountain that many writers never

climb. It can be a herculean task. It's not easy. Being a writer can be a solitary trade. Many days are full of doubt, spent wondering if the effort is worth the result. For me, the answer is always yes. I write because I'm a writer. It feels good to be able to say that because for a great many years, I was a writer who didn't write, and that was no fun. Is everything easier now? No, but a lot more things are easier now. Do things always go how I want them? Also no, but that's okay too.

Along this journey, which I hope continues for many years, things have turned out in ways that I didn't like. I didn't get what I wanted, but what I did get is experience. In the end, that may be the most valuable commodity of all.

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