montage of people with varying disabilities
neville hiatt in a red shirt, glasses, and holding a book

"Paying it forward"

by Neville Hiatt


 

Submitting for a new opportunity to write is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get. Will you get a yes, will it be a no? Quite often you don’t even get a reply. How long will it take for this reply - assuming you get one - to arrive? How long is a piece of string? The life of an author is far from glamorous.

Applying to be a part of My dis-ABILITIES, like most projects, was a complete unknown. How many other people had applied? Yes I have some publishing credits to my name but what are they really looking for? Yes I’ve had “my” story published a couple of time before and my writing ability has progressed since then but will it be enough? How will my health affect not only this submission but also my ability to deliver the final product should I be selected? This is a project for people with disabilities but how much will the effect of my disabilities on me  be taken into consideration? Am I disabled enough? Did I actually send in the application? Yes it’s in the sent folder. Shit I forgot the attachments. OK breathe, open, attach, double check, resend, keep breathing.

Being an author is like you have never left school. Teachers are replaced by editors the only difference is now you are the one paying them to put red marks through your precious words. Due dates may still get extended,  but rather than losing marks there could be financial consequences. Once it’s handed in that isn’t the end. Then you have to rewrite it. Again. And again. And again. And then rather than just one person grading you it’s the whole world, assuming they ever read it.

Then if you are the 1% of the 1% and a TV or movie adaptation is offered you have to choose if you want someone else retelling your story in potentially a completely different way than you know it.

And yet still I write. Some stories more fact than fiction and others more fiction than fact. The fact that is always the same is the memory of surviving through other authors’ words and the burning desire to pay it forward to the next generation who just might live one day longer because of something I wrote.

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