In the past year, I moved on from blogging. I was a 5 under 25 The Times writer to watch, got into a summer program at Iowa and two other workshops/mentorships, got a short story published in the Harvard-based Transition Magazine, was the youngest shortlisted for the Morland, an £18k grant for writing and got on the line for PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2022. Did I earn something tangible? Yes.

Maybe I’m not doing bad, maybe I can be a writer.

As a child, I was ridiculed each time I said I wanted to be a writer, told it was not a viable ambition, too ridiculous, something that should be shifted in pursuit of more realistic things. A lot has been behind the scenes but we’re here now, thankfully.

I’m on a noble track, a good one. Life lives on the page for me, it’s where my sense of being is. Any denial of that is nonsense. I find it utterly disheartening that people who’ve never engaged with your craft have the guts to downplay what you do. People may not mean harm but it is disrespectful. It’s interesting how that reduces the more established a writer you become – that’s life really.

Downplaying writers – at whatever stage they are – is utterly unnecessary.

Hardly does anybody tell writers to really become writers, it happens to them, at least in the circles I belong to. Of course, I know the odds of publishing and its implications. It’s far from rosy. No need to sugarcoat that. I don’t even suggest it, except you’re ready for rejections.

Still, I’m a writer and anybody doubting its prospects should rest. I know what is what and I’m on my way. I believe in this dream nonetheless and would hopefully reread this one day and smile.


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