I’m not usually looking for something to read – my bedside table groans under the weight of many books, and I’ve often my nose in several tomes at once (I’ve the right shaped nose for such feats). And I admit to being swayed by the hype from social media when there’s something new everyone’s talking about (hello Booker longlist), so the to-be-read pile is ever-growing.
But one day last week I plucked from the heap of unreads an anthology I have a story in. Not a recent one, but one from last year which I hadn’t bothered to finish before. And wow! What lot of lovely new writing. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but…
I’m probably not the only writer who opens a newly-arrived anthology to check what the publisher has done with my work. I’ll then run through the other names in the index and if there’s no-one familiar, set the book aside for another time. Which often never comes (mea culpa).
In the last five years I’ve appeared in 29 print anthologies and journals, which adds up to a lot of reading material. I’ve put myself forward for publication like this because its great to see my work in print, and it is supposed to be good for the writing CV, that magic thing known as ‘exposure’, supposedly what publishers look for when they’re considering a writer as a viable investment.
There’s the public validation thing going on as well – it’s great to know someone likes my writing, someone who isn’t related by blood or marriage.
So, here I am blinking in the bright light after (nearly) putting the final touches to a new collection of poetry, looking for something distracting to do. It has to be something related to the written word of course, although I also enjoy walking, gardening and baking (not all at the same time though).
So what? So I have now tasked myself with getting down to read every word of all the multi-author publications I’m in, a bit ashamed to admit I’ve not done it before, I’ve just dipped in and out.
So here goes. With a following wind, I should be finished by Christmas.