Tag: campfire


The writers I know love to write to the point that they will fill all the nooks and corners of their lives with writing. They will work full time jobs and write late at night, or on weekends when the weather is perfect and everyone else is out adventuring. They’ll wake up at five to sneak in time before the kids are up, or skip lunch, or breakfast, or both.

There are times in life when I start to think too hard about rejection, and failure, and question what I do. It’s easy to do, and once there, it’s easy to stop seeing a piece of writing as something alive and full of potential. There are so many more reasons not to write than there are to do so.

This is what I do when that happens. I think of campfires. I think of all the stories people tell around a fire, or in the backseat of a taxi, or to their children before bedtime. I think about how humans are driven to tell stories, and the many ways we do so. I think about the subterranean world of writers, their silent endless striving to share the lives happening inside their heads.

I think about tribes. I think about my own, about the family members and friends who have patiently read everything I’ve written, who have listened to the stories I tell as closely as if we were seated around a campfire of our own, the firelight flickering, the stars overhead.

Storytellers need tribes. But our tribes don’t need to number in the millions. Just a few faces looking back at us through the firelight may be more than enough to make the whole thing worthwhile.

A word about waiting

Approximately 98.27% of the non-writing side of publishing is waiting. Just waiting. Interspersed, of course, with oh-crap-another-rejection, or holy-crackerjacks-an-acceptance!

Depending on how many stories you have out, the rate of either of those things can be anything from multiple times a day to once a month (or longer). If you’re me, and you write long short stories, and you haven’t written any new ones in a few months because you’ve been working on a novel and haven’t had much time, then…well, it’s slow.

Five stories out at the moment. The oldest submission just rounded the six month mark, the newest is closing on one month. It’s a little like hanging out by a campfire in the dark. Everyone said they’d be back soon, but it’s starting to feel like maybe they…forgot? Maybe they decided not to come back? Or maybe they’re just out of sight in the dark, taking notes on how you react as part of their paper on paranoia-inducing activities.

More than that, it’s just a touch boring. I’ve no real problem with waiting, as long as I know the story, or the response, wasn’t eaten by the email goblins. Which is why I love the little updates some markets send out. It’s great to hear something has cleared the slushpile, or is waiting on an editorial meeting, even if it comes with an “expect another four months wait” rider. It’s just the sound of a voice in the dark saying “Hey, we’re still coming, keep the campfire burning.”