The illustrious Mike Carey, in a talk to the writing group, once told us that success in his writing career did not come from one big break - instead it was a series of fortuitous small breaks. Success comes gradually, with each new milestone worth marking off. There are a lot of significant milestones over the years that I decided were worth celebrating as I forge the road of my writing career. The first professionally published story (1989). The first novel contract (2009, for SUFFER THE CHILDREN). Seeing the first novel cover. Seeing the finished book for the first time was exciting, even though it arrived as an email file and not a print copy. Holding the first print book (2012, SOUL SCREAMS) for the first time was equally exciting. My first 'proper' signing session, at the BFS open night, for the paperback version of SOUL SCREAMS was a thrill.
All of these things have been significant milestones, to me, in the journey from Writer to Author. They mark the way to writing as a career, instead of just a hobby.
Another First Milestone has recently come my way. This year's EasterCon (officially titled EightSquaredCon) has published their list of 'Attending Authors'. And I am on it. That's very exciting - I'm normally in the regular delegates list.
I've also been asked to participate in a panel at EasterCon. This is my first panel, and a big moment. Since the schedule's not published yet I'm not going to say too much about this, but needless to say it marks another 'First'.
From being very young, the only thing I ever wanted to be was a writer. As each milestone is achieved and I check it off my List of Dreams, I move the goalposts a bit and set it ever higher. The Ultimate Dream is being able to make enough money from the writing to quit the day job. That might never happen, but setting the smaller goals in the meantime means that with every little goal I check off, every step of the ladder I take, I'm just that little bit closer.