One of the websites that influenced me to become a freelance writer at the end of last year was Lateral Action. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon the site, but found it to be a wealth of practical and inspirational advice for not just creative people, but creative professionals. The articles questioned conventional creative and business processes and sparked lively discussions in the comments. I felt there existed a community of likeminded people and it gave me further confidence to strike out and go it alone.
I recently had an article published on the site:
How It Happened
When I finally took the plunge and left my job to work for myself, I contacted Mark at Lateral Action asking if I could write a piece for the site as it had been such a positive influence on my decision to leave. I didn’t expect to be successful as I was a complete unknown with no discernable creative reputation; however, he was kind enough to give me an opportunity to submit an outline for an article.
I was thrilled at the chance, but then found the pressure of what to write about was leaving me blank. At the same time, I was also in mid-stream of receiving continuous rejections for my short stories. Very kind and encouraging rejections I might add, but it’s still the same as being dumped despite being told you are a great person. It’s difficult to really enjoy it, even after a cup of tea and some chocolate.
Enter Big Bad John
My older brother John came to visit; a charming rogue who forgets birthdays but remembers to make you laugh. He asked me how the writing was going and then rummaged in his bag as though he had anticipated my reply.
“When was the last time you read some Bukowski?”
I shrugged; it had been a couple of years since I’d gone through a phase of devouring his work. John threw a copy of Bukowski’s Factotum at me.
“I thought you could probably do with reading this…”
Brainstorming and Bukowski
It took me a few days to get round to reading the book as I was furiously scribbling ideas for articles as well as ideas for new stories that had to be accepted by someone. Eventually a scheduled trip up north found me on a long coach ride with the book staring at me. Though I thought I should be using the time to make notes and think about more ideas I figure I’d give it a go… it was a long coach ride.
By the time I arrived in Hull, after reading about Bukowski’s struggle to find success as a writer and how his life had descended into a hedonistic decade as he decided to shun his passion, I felt a bit better about my rejection run and I also had an idea for an article:
I really appreciate the opportunity the guys at Lateral Action gave me to have my work featured on their site, which, if you haven’t visited yet, I highly recommend you head there pronto. Oh, and make a cup of tea… they have too many great articles for light browsing.
As for the rejections, they’re still coming through, but I did receive a note to say that one has passed the Fiction Editor and is now with the magazine’s Editor for consideration…there’s hope for me yet.