Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Writing Achievements and All That Jazz

While looking up topics I could write about this month, one question that seemed to pop up in many interviews asked writers about their greatest writing achievements, as if there's a scalable way of determining what's good and what's better. I think it all comes down to how it makes the writer feel, which is why I don't have one - I have three.

The first should be obvious: the writing and publishing of Balor Reborn in a week. It was a tiring week of trying to keep everything on camera, writing and editing a book, creating a cover and a book trailer, setting up the sales page, and sending out a press release.

The main thing is, I managed it. I managed to write the book, and it was my first step into the land of independently published authorship. It's set a precedence on my writing, of what I can accomplish in a short period of time, and it's been the standard to which I try to work as a bare minimum since.

That week led to the second great writing achievement: having an article published in Writing Magazine, about the process of writing the book. While the actual article didn't take long to write, and while I was perfectly happy writing it, it was a professional stepping stone, and it showed me that I can write something that someone would actually want to publish.

The third achievement happened way before that, and rather than being a work-standard achievement, or a professional achievement, it changed the way I look at the word. It was the writing and performance of my first play, The Rest is Silence, a play that dealt with depression and suicide at a university level, performed by my friends in the Drama Soc, with two of my best friends taking on the lead role(s).

The actual writing of it meant a lot to me, to get to tell a story that highlighted what depression could feel like, but the consequences of the play were huge in a different way. From ticket sales - and some merchandising - we raised over €750 for a suicide charity in Ireland, Console. It was the first play I'd seen in my college to sell out, and it was the first original play to hit the stage for as long back as anyone could tell me. As far as I'm aware, it was the first time an original play had been performed by the Drama Soc, and not the last.

I can't pick any one of those three achievements as being greater than the other two. Each meant something different to me, and to different people, but each one shaped the way I write and work today. In the six months following the staging of The Rest is Silence, I became a published author, with a book and an article to add to my credits.

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