Your first published article: You’ll never forget your first time

As a writer, nothing is as exciting as the first time you see your work in print.  Once our work has been published, many of us can’t wait to share it with those who encouraged us and believed in our ability to spin words into beautifully crafted sentences.  Their reaction to what we have done is priceless…and confidence building.  Sometimes, showing our work to those that doubted us is even more fun (but for an entirely different reason)!  It feels good to show them how wrong they were in their flawed assessment of our skills.

For me, seeing my work in print for the first time was an incredible experience that I will never forget.  I spent many years not writing and doubting my abilities.  Being able to move past the negativity and finally seeing my words on someone else’s website was fantastic.  It felt like a small victory.

I sent the weblink to my article to all of my friends and family to show them what I had accomplished.  Afterwards, my best friends took me out and we celebrated with laughs, nachos and margaritas.  It was a great time!  It took awhile to wipe the goofy smile off of my face.  In my head, I kept thinking “yeah, that’s right , I’m a published writer.”  I felt that I was finally on the right track.

I knew that I wasn’t the only writer who had their head in the clouds after being published.  Surely others felt just as elated as I did after doing something this major.  Or did they?  I was curious about what other writers felt after seeing their work in print.  Was I the only one that got that gushy feeling when seeing their words out there?

I asked a few fellow writers how they felt when they were published for the first time.  Here is what they said:

Hipstercrite blogging badass, Lauren Modery, said that while she had several pieces published before becoming a full-fledged freelance writer, she was most excited by her current column on CultureMap.  “That was the moment when I thought to myself, “Hey, it’s finally happening!”, said Modery.  “I’m still relatively new at all of this so anytime I get a freelance assignment, it’s pretty thrilling (and terrifying).”

Local author, Ken Hart, had his first novel, “Behind the Gem”, published in June 2010.  “When I first started writing “Behind the Gem”, it was not with the intention of being published, but to write a story for my personal entertainment.”  According to Hart, the novel took on a life of it’s own and went from being an ebook to a print contract rather quickly.

Author Bowie V. Ibarra had his first book, “Down the Road: A Zombie Horror Story”, self-published almost a decade ago and recalls feeling proud and humbled by the experience.  “I wasn’t looking for fame and fortune. I just wanted to tell a zombie story my way without anyone’s hands on it. It all paid off, as I wrote two follow ups for Permuted Press: “Down the Road: On the Last Day” and “Down the Road: The Fall of Austin”.”

And how did they feel when they saw their published work for the first time?

“It was super exciting and was well received, which has helped give me the confidence to keep at this,” said Modery.  And of course, she called her mother with the thrilling news.

Hart said that when he was published he “had a hard time believing it.”  He went on to add “I had to ask myself how a man with only a high school education could possibly write a novel.  The answer to that was – who cares?”  He decided to simply enjoy the moment and signed his contract.

After his first book was picked up by Simon and Schuster, Ibarra said, “I was proud, but knew I had a very long road to travel to become a great writer.”

As writers, we put so much time, effort and heart into what we do and seeing it out there is pretty amazing.  In the end, seeing our work published for the first time is a huge milestone and a great accomplishment.  It’s a proud moment that we should revel in because we’ve earned it.  Let’s not forget to encourage our fellow writers so that they can experience that feeling, too!

How did you feel when you saw your first piece published? And now, looking back on it, are you just as proud? Has your growth as a writer made you feel like removing every trace of that first article would be appropriate and sound justice? Let us know!  

Valeka Cruz is a freelance writer and blogger living happily in Austin, Texas with her three fur babies. Her weekly blog, Running On Heavy, provides motivating health and wellness advice along with life lessons. Cruz recently completed a draft of her first novel, “Kissing Frogs.” She loves chocolate, hiking, laughing, hot tea and, especially, writing (the order of which depending on the kind of a day Cruz is having).

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