Here's Sharon Boothroyd's story:
I began writing seriously in 2010, when I managed to get a story published in Debut, the then sister magazine of Scribble.(Sadly, Debut folded a while ago – however, Scribble still lives on!).
I also entered a short story competition run by Linda Lewis. I didn't win – I wasn't even a runner up – but part of the entry fee included a critique from her. One sentence rang out – 'You write well.' From a high profile womag writer such as Linda, this was fantastic praise!
I was chuffed to bits!
We kept up an email correspondence (on and off) and she has always encouraged me to never lose faith.
She even decided to include my name and my question to her, in her 'Short story success' column for Writer's Forum magazine in October 2010, which was lovely to see!
Since then, I've continued writing and subbing regularly, and of course, reading and studying the stories in the magazines I hope to be published in.
I realise that it's not an easy market to break into. When the rejections pile up, I take a break from stories, and focus on other projects for a while.
Then my mind is refreshed and I feel ready to start again. It's great to get paid for work, but I'm happy to write on a voluntary basis, too. Each writing success, whether big or small, is an achievement I feel immensely proud of.
I know there's a lot of high quality womag writers out there, yet somehow, even in my more darkest, depressing moments, thanks to Linda, I've never lost my passion to write.
Three years later, we still keep in touch.
I haven't sold as many stories as Linda... but you never know what's around the corner!
I love the way writers support each other. Does it happen in other professions to the same extent I wonder?