As this is my first proper blog post, I wanted to take the opportunity to explain a little more about myself. However, as I started to think about what to say, I realised that what was really at the front of my mind was the wonderfully surreal nature of the past 14 days.
To explain, a week ago I got an email from the author Robyn Nyx to say that a short story I had written had been accepted. It was to be published as part of an anthology of established and new Lesbian fiction writers. Not so strange you might think, but a week before that the story had not even existed! I had instead been bumbling along as usual, tired from work and excited about going to Germany to see my girlfriend. I was, in short, blissfully unaware that my life was about to take a very sudden left turn.
I live a very ordinary life. I have close family, good friends and a wonderful girlfriend. This writing thing is a relatively new development. I set myself the intellectual challenge of writing a book a year ago. I guess I was fed up with people telling me that I should have a go. I am not daft, I know that writing is tough. So, I invested in the project by going on a writer’s retreat in Malaga with Global Wordsmiths. They carefully explained the craft of writing in terms even I could understand. Then they took apart the 50k words I had got down, and set me the task of doing it all again, armed with the skills they had given me. However publishing remained a very big if for me. The problem is that I love reading science fiction, and I read voraciously. So, inevitably I have read some terrible stuff. My fear was, and still is, that I would join the ranks of terrible sci-if writers myself.
Which brings me to my short story. The call came in out of the blue. Get a 4k word story together in a week and it will be considered. I spent a frantic few days snatching a couple hours after working late. The first draft stank. The second was better, but doubts remained. I sent it off more in hope than expectation. Then it was accepted. I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face.
However my elation was short lived. Robyn explained that I needed to establish a social media profile, and my heart sank. I am not a digital native. When I grew up, the internet didn’t exist. I played Pong on the television and thought it was cool. I went up to University the same year that Yahoo was born. In my first job I was the only one in the office with a dedicated computer. I can remember the singsong connection sound of a 56k dial up modem.
I love the Internet. I love its anarchy and its power to bring knowledge to everyone, rich or poor. But it sometimes feels scary too, and social media is the scariest part for a shy introvert like myself. The faceless exchanges lead too easily to anxiety on my part. But it goes with the new territory I have found myself in. I need to do my part in advertising the book.
So an author Facebook has been created, a twitter account, and finally this site. On Facebook, I now apparently have over 150 friends, garnered over the course of a week. In real life I don’t actually think I have ever associated with that many people. So who are these people, why do they want to connect to me? Some obviously come from within the ranks of the Lesbian Fiction community. The intent of others is less easy to discern, but I usually accept them, the point of social media is after all to be social. Twitter remains a mystery. I genuinely don’t think I ever usually do anything interesting enough to tweet about. I think a lot of retweeting will be done. As for this site, well I have never written a blog post before. Enough said.
So to conclude, this writing thing is turning out to be a bit surreal. Enjoyable but strange, and I can’t wait to see what sudden left turns come next.