Getting to yes

What was your first “big yes” in your career? My first journal acceptance (well, at a journal that wasn’t at the university or one where I wasn’t sleeping with the editor) was probably The Antigonish Review. It felt like a big thing at the time. The next time I remember being excited by a yes was Granta. I have reserved a future happy dance (3 minute time limit) in case a New Yorker publication comes down the line. Otherwise it’s all sort of…. meh.

When I think of the first Big Yes, I think of the moment that marks the first big shift, either external or internal, in the trajectory of a writer’s career or their understanding of themselves as a writer. I’ve carried the question with me through my own development as a writer, because, in an industry that oftentimes feels obsessed with national awards and accolades, most-anticipated and bestseller lists, it’s easy for me to convince myself that when I get there—wherever “there” may be—I will have finally made it. That “there” will be the achievement that defines or legitimizes my career as a writer.

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