A Story So Far

Posted: April 24, 2014 in On Writing, Writer's Carnival

I’ve been writing, off and on, for most of my life.

I remember being in the first grade, being given spelling words that we were supposed to put into sentences and crafting short connected stories with them.

My first publication came in high school, writing for a small student run publication called LEGION. It was a short piece featuring a vampire. Ahem. Yes.

My biggest period of productivity came in college. I wrote for anything and everyone that would take me. I wrote broadsides poetry, I wrote a newspaper article, I submitted to numerous student-run literary journals. Someone was asking for submissions? I wrote for them.  This despite (or maybe because) the sole creative writing class I ever took was in my freshman year of college. Maybe, if at the time, if I hadn’t been focused on teaching, on graduating in four years, I would have focused more on writing. On getting published. This was in the late ‘90s though when more places than not were refusing to take electronic submissions, were only taking print. I submitted less pieces than I should have outside of college, collected precious few rejection letters.

I graduated, took a job in human resources. I wrote less. I’d still churn out the occasional piece, but I lost my ready-made audience. I didn’t have places ready set to pick up whatever flowed from my fingers to the page. Self-doubt, ever present, grew strong and deep. I left too many projects unfinished.

Grad school then, seeking to move up and out. I was still working, going to school nights. You can imagine what that did to my already diminished writing output.

Fast forward to 2013, about this time last year (May 9th will be my first year anniversary). I got a tweet inviting me to join a community,Writer’s Carnival, that was still in its infancy, not even crawling yet. It was an interesting convergence as I was looking at getting back into writing again, writing consistently, cracking through word count. Suddenly I had an audience again, was getting feedback, meaningful and actionable.  It was like I was back in the classroom again. Being able to improve and help others improve.

I jumped in, both feet. I was active. I reviewed. I wrote. I argued and debated. A couple of months in I was asked to join the Writer’s Carnival team.

There’s been additional windfall from all this, of course. I collaborated with a number of other writers and helped push out an anthology,Midnight Abyss. I’ve submitted to and been published by Reader’s Carnival. I persuaded DarkFutures to publish a yearlong series by me. I’ve gained confidence to submit my work to paying markets (so far, no dice, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped trying). I’ve been invited to help run the Writer’s Carnival Classes site.

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t responded to that initial tweet, if I hadn’t made a conscience effort to be engaged, to be willing to give and accept critique.

My suggestion to you, if you’re looking for a place to improve your craft, to connect with other writers, is to check the place out. It is free to join, free to look around, and free to see first-hand how the community interacts.

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Comments
  1. Great article, Matt! And a fantastic reminder to take that extra step, reach out and give new things a try. Glad you decided to join the team and partner with me to take on the classes side. It wouldn’t be the same without you.

    Anisa

  2. Great to see how Writer’s Carnival is helping writers find their mojo! Props to the creators!

  3. gotimtim says:

    Great write up here, Matt!
    Writer’s Carnival is lucky to have you! 🙂

  4. Karen Holt says:

    This is a great insight into how you started writing, Matt. It was a happy coincidence that your path led you to Writers Carnival, and I’m sure it’s just the start of a long relationship. It’s a pleasure to read your work.

  5. douglangille says:

    great getting-to-know-you post, Matt. *fistbump*

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