So, to start, I got excellent news on New Year's Day. Namely, I sold a short story, "Jump the Black", to Rick Klaw's upcoming anthology "Rayguns Over Texas". Rayguns is an anthology of original science fiction by TX authors, is scheduled for release at LoneStarCon 3 (aka the 2013 Science Fiction Worldcon in San Antonio, TX). It'll also have stories from Michael Moorcock, Neal Barrett, Jr., Joe Lansdale, Aaron Allston, Don Webb, Stina Leicht, and many other people who are far cooler than me. Seriously, if it was Ocean's 11, I'd be the Matt Damon of the group.
Obviously, I'm thrilled. This literally happened on January 1st, and I'm taking it as a sign for the year to come.
Here's one thing I've learned in the process of cutting my teeth in this business: take every small victory. This particular one is a great one, and it's an easy one to crow about. It has a tangibility I can point to: there will be a book with a story I wrote in it. Other victories, other little milestones I have passed, don't have that same sense of accomplishment. At least, not the way you can really explain to people who aren't/haven't done the same things.
Back when I was still querying, for example. Getting a full-request was a pretty big deal, something that puts me in the top 0.1% of everyone who says, "I'm gonna write a book." But it doesn't actually put a book in bookstores or money in my pocket. At the time, I was pretty proud of that milestone, but it wasn't something I felt I could make a big deal out of. However, around that time, I ran into an actor friend I hadn't seen in a while, and when I mentioned it-- as well as that feeling that it wasn't really much of a victory-- he said, "I know exactly what you mean. It's like getting a 3rd Callback, where you know the part is down to you and a couple other guys. It gives you some validation, that you have talent... but it still isn't a job booked."
Still, I savor these moments. The big one is coming. I feel it in my marrow.