I have to confess something slightly embarrassing in order to share this story with you guys.
From time to time I indulge in reading YOU magazine, a weekly South African magazine that's basically just a general interest publication with one or two trashy articles per issue. You know, the occasional article titled something like "I ate my third leg" or "my mom the drug dealer". It's common practice in South Africa NOT to EVER reveal that you read this magazine, so I apologise to my fellow Saffers for my shame.
Me, I love
reading this mag right before bedtime. It's the perfect way for my brain to switch off. It's got news and current events and all that, but it's just vague and vapid enough that I'm pleasantly distracted. And the Agony Aunt styled "Ask Dr Louise" is downright hilarious. Recently, a 20-something woman wrote in asking if it's a good idea to share her boyfriend with her mother. I'm still laughing about that one.
So it was a huge suprise when I actually found a snippet that was directly applicable to my own situation, and on top of that, really gave me some hope.
It was a short article about a woman named Jo Watson
, a South African, who posted her story, Burning Moon
, on Wattpad and is now getting it published by some bigwig literary agent in New York because of the attention it got online. I had to go on her Wattpad profile to find out she'd actually done this by winning a Watty award, but regardless of the process, the outcome is the same.
Maybe some of you have read Burning Moon
, because apparently it has five million hits and counting. I haven't read it myself, though. "Chick Lit" or whatever it's called isn't exactly my cup of tea, no matter how girly my own novel gets sometimes. At least with millions of readers at her beck and call, I highly doubt the loss of my readership will make Jo Watson weep.
I find it so encouraging and heartwarming to know a fellow South African following much the same process as I am has found success. I immediately tore the snippet out of the magazine and stuck it to my wall next to my computer monitor. Just as a reminder that if this woman who's so geographically close to me can get her work out there, so can I. It can really feel so isolated sometimes in this third-world country.
It's a big help that ol' Jo's pulling a terrifyingly smug face in her photograph and she's flaunting a pink-sleeved Macbook — something I will never manage to afford. Kind of like she's saying, "Yeah, I got all this stuff you want. You'll never get on my level, you loser."
It's actually very motivating.
And wouldn't you believe it, she's got a scan of the YOU mag snippet on her Facebook. Just check the bottom: scontent-bru.xx.fbcdn.net/hpho…
I figured this would be a cool story to share with you guys. I know a good deal of you are writers, too, and I hope what you take out of this is that, thanks to the Internet, we're all on a level playing field.
make it, we can
be successful and we can
serve as inspiration for others along the way.
Let's go kick butt, okay!