Friday, 11 July 2008

A moment of realization

I had an odd moment today. After coming out of my comic-shop day job this afternoon I stopped off at WH Smiths and picked up the current issue of Writer’s Forum. Upon passing it over the counter, the friendly gent at the till nodded to the magazine and said “You never know, we might be selling something of yours in here one day.” My automatic (and sadly pretentious) reaction was “You already do mate, I write for one of the magazines you sell.” He said he was impressed. I took my change and went for my bus home. It led to an odd train of thought pulling away from the station of Tired Metaphors- somehow, I’ve become a writer. This thing I did as a hobby for so long has become part of my daily life and is eclipsing my other creative endeavours completely. It brought to mind a comment on my Livejournal, where a friend I’d found on a writing community had said they enjoyed my posts and were ‘pleased with my success’.

This took me by surprise, not just because it was such a nice comment, but it made me look again at the things I was doing. I wanted to write fiction, I always had, but I had also always wanted to work in music journalism. My girlfriend, a notably more successful writer than myself (Whenever you’re in a large supermarket or newsagent, you’ll see something she’s written for), pointed out that I am indeed successful, at least in many people’s eyes. I write for a national (now international) music magazine, I write as part of my day-job, I wrote for a huge music site, have an anthology out, a serialized novel underway and more. I had to stop and take stock. You see, I’d spent so long trying to focus on my goal, that I’d managed not to notice what was going on around me.

It happened again last month, when myself and my long-term musical cohort Dave O’Kelly went to see Whitesnake and Def Leppard (incidentally, my review of that night will surface in the forthcoming issue). While waiting in line, it occurred to me that potentially several thousand of those people, all rock fans who bought magazines and visited websites, had read things I’d written. I felt odd. Good, but odd. Many years ago, I idolized people like Dave Reynolds and Morat and Jason Arnopp and suchlike; the people who filled the magazines I bought with opinions on the music I loved. Now here I am, doing that same thing. I’ve become one of those names at the foot of a review, and I am immensely proud of that. I’m very proud of everything I have been given the chance to take part in, and am loving doing so.

What have I learned? Appreciate your achievements, and don’t just see them as steps towards something greater. Each step is important, but it is also to be savoured. I would love it if one day someone read something I had written and thought ‘I want to do that’. That would be wonderful.

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