Back to main site

Notes from Ash Huang

It happens all at once

There’s a lot of reasons advice can be annoying, and one of those reasons is when it’s just…true.

I am just another data point, but the writing tropes are right. Blahblahblah you go from form rejections, to higher tier, to personals, to accepts. You write four books before someone signs you.

…Nobody’s signed me yet. But if u also wanna see my new book, agents, lol 😎 lmk

Anywayyy-yuh, I’ve been thinking a lot about the advice I heard that annoyed me the most. That is, if you persevere for long enough and work work work, not much happens, until it does—and then it happens all at once.

I’ve been writing seriously since 2012. The bulk of my creative publications, awards, and fellowships are from the past ~18mo, with at least one more this year in one of my dream pubs ✨ if all goes well. But you know, the six months before that, I only had one real win with Periplus, and then a super demoralizing high-request query round that did not pan out for me.

I love writing immensely and I’ll do it no matter what. Still. In that period, I often found myself thinking, so when do I accept this is never going to happen for me? That no one will publish any of my real heart’s writing and it’s time to just put a pipe straight from my word processor to a dusty lil trunk?

Phew but iykyk. I share with hesitance because I don’t want someone to read this before they even really begin and think, what’s the point, who has like eleven fn years and the stability to slowly slowly grind, grain by grain, like this lady.

Of course there’s the twenty three year olds who seemingly bring their first badass manuscripts to a parade of auctions and accolades, but mostly everyone else I know seems to quietly grind away at a career in community, writing their words, telling their stories. You absolutely hear no, then no but send more, then almost but no, then yes, yes, yes.

You find all the strangely shaped alcoves your stories fit in. You learn how to tell them with the honor they deserve in your own special way. You achieve that joyous painful fugue state where all the good art comes from.

Maybe you’ve been thinking, maybe this is the end of my writing career. I have been there. I’m not ur mama so you do what you need to do. If writing is not your joy, if it doesn’t nourish you, that’s one thing. But if it is, you just need to stay in it a little longer.

Something will eventually happen, and it probably will happen all at once.