The last time I made a blog post was at the start of May, and I will be the first to admit it wasn’t an entirely “good” post. I was feeling glum and overworked and struggling to find ways to prioritise my time. I had even decided I was going to take a step back from writing.
Two weeks later I was stunned to discover that I had been shortlisted in two categories for the Australian Horror Writer’s Association, Australian Shadows awards. The nominations were for three pieces of work in Edited Work and Nonfiction.
This was especially surprising for me as I almost didn’t bother submitting anything until some friends gave me a bit of a poke. I remember the afternoon when I was trying to get everything together to send and it felt like technology was against me and everything kept going wrong. I almost gave up when a file got deleted accidently, believing it was a sign that my work was rubbish anyway. I’m so very glad I persisted.
After what seemed like a solid six months of rejections, I sold a shape-shifter themed, gothic horror poem “The Forgotten Ones” to Brigids Gate Press for their WERE TALES anthology in mid-April, and at the start of June my weird, grief-soaked body-horror poem “Her” was accepted by Black Spot Books for their UNDER HER SKIN anthology. I am also extremely pleased to announce that Snow-Capped Press have accepted a piece of flash fiction and two of my poems for their upcoming anthology.
However, I have saved the very best news for last…
I am absolutely delighted and more than a little stunned to reveal that my “period piece” essay An Exploration of Menstruation in Horror and Dark Fiction, first published in February 2020 at The Horror Tree for Women in Horror Month, has won an Australian Shadows Award in their nonfiction category.
And as I joked on Twitter the next day, you only have to win once to legitimately call yourself an “award-winning writer” forever. So I guess I’d better get used to calling myself that! 😉
All these things have given me the nudge I needed to believe in myself again and it I seems that winding down and alleviating some of the pressures I’d put on myself was exactly what was necessary to regain some headspace. And of course, that means I’ve actually returned to writing and I’ve been enjoying it.
If this has taught me anything it’s that progress, no matter how slow-going it may seem, is still progress. I’m just out here shovelling sand to make sand castles but every single word I write is one more than I didn’t write yesterday and small steps can yield giant results.
Rest if you must, but don’t quit.