The first step of being a “recognised writer”, for me at least, was my first rejection letter.
Because being rejected means I wrote something.
I then sent it off, people actually read some of it, and they made a decision about it. They took time to think about it; found bits they liked or disliked, and then let me know.
For me, that let me know I’m in this game for the long haul. I’ve now done the whole process up to obtaining a result.
I wasn’t one of those people who said “I’d love to write a novel” and did nothing about it.
I sat down. I wrote. I cried and laughed and showed bits to family. I shared private jokes from my characters with my friends.
I wrote, I revised, I edited, I hated and loved and worried. And then I sent it off and did my best to forget about it. I threw myself into the sequel. I started reading fiction again, and studied the work of others.
And then I got a decision.
I didn’t submit to agents and query people with a polished manuscript. I had a two week window, and I did a very quick edit so that I could experience the process. Considering the story wasn’t edited for plot holes, let alone grammar and spelling, I knew I wouldn’t get anywhere with it.
And in some ways, it feels odd to even call it a “rejection”.
But it gave me a glimpse of the experience.
It let me know that I can submit my work. I’m not one of those “I’d love to write one day” people.
I’m doing this.
And now I know the process, I’m striving for the next best result: acceptance of short pieces, a placing in contests or a request for more.