Friday, May 3, 2024

Unexpected consequences ...

Recently I was asked to do a small paying job after a casual chat at an event with someone I didn't know terribly well at the time. At that same event another chat with someone I'd never met before ended with an invitation to participate in something poetic later in the year.  And not long after I was emailed with some lovely news. A poem I had submitted to this fun and welcoming UK online children's poetry site is to appear in an anthology they are putting together. Opportunities can spring from the most unexpected places. This is not why we have the chats or go to events but it is a reminder that this business can be full of good unexpected consequences if we actively participate in it.  

I may have talked about this before. I know I have definitely mentioned that being a writer is a long game. Every part of the process tends to be fairly slow as a rule (to which there are always exceptions), and some outcomes happen years after the wheels were set in motion. But sometimes things also follow a pathway that no one can see or takes the road less travelled popping up in a different, sometimes better destination than you had in mind.  We can't anticipate how things will play out. How can we plan accordingly? How can we control any of it? For the most part we can't. But there are some things to keep in mind as you traverse this crazy book writing journey.

Our industry is a community. It is good to join it and participate in it, whether on the periphery or fully immersed (or anywhere on the spectrum inbetween). Everyone is there because they share your passion - this is your tribe. And your tribe will embrace you, support you and be the font of opportunites. And you will have the chance to give back in your turn.

Be true to yourself. If you always do what is right for you and reflects who you are inside and out, then any outcomes will be the right ones for you. They will be more satisying and your journey will have consistency as a result. With the long game, and continuing community participation, others will see this too. And sometimes this leads to other opportunites you had not anticipated. Keep working on your body of work. 

Be polite and professional. Make this a strand of your brand. People will want to work with you if you are good to work with. 

Enjoy everything in the moment as much as you can. Keep copies of any good news you get so you can remind yourself of it when you need a boost. Be hopeful. Trust your intuition. Don't let failure undermine you. The writers you admire have had their failures too. And failures can also end up having good outcomes, because remember, this is a long game. 

And here is a poem I wrote that I am a wee bit fond of - just a lil bonus content for you: 


the world cannot turn like it

used to - it creaks and groans

with nothing left to grease it

the oil long since mined

pimped, pumped and spent

leaving a grimy film on the

sky like a weighted blanket


the world cannot turn like it

used to – swollen tides

climb out of the sea to

wash the dirt of houses and

gardens, fish cooked and

oversalted gasp on beaches

there are rivers in the sky


the world cannot turn like it

used to – the poles want change

will there be a gentle pause

and reverse, or a jolt

no less than we deserve

shucking us off into the

waiting hell of the heavens


I guess we shall see what the revolution brings


Melinda Szymanik