Ken head shot

What Kind of Fish Am I?

Ken MacGregor 2015


I started writing with the hope of selling it a little more than three years ago. I had no idea what I was getting into.

I’ve done pretty well, I guess. Based on what I hear other aspiring authors (I usually call myself a “writer”, but couldn’t resist the alliteration) say, I’ve been somewhat successful. I’ve had over 60 stories picked up and been paid for most of them. I have a novel on the way that I wrote by accident with the ever-entertaining Kerry G.S. Lipp. We set out to write a short story and got carried away. Kerry’s great, by the way. If you like the sick stuff, especially, he’s your guy.

So, yeah. I can now hold my own in a conversation about writing with other writers and not sound like a buffoon. I am hip to the lingo (I use this outdated phrase ironically – writers do shit like that). But, I still feel like I have so much to learn.

Other writers I admire (like Jonathan Maberry or Joe R. Lansdale or Graham Masterson – all of whom I’ve been fortunate enough to share pages with) have it so together. They rock the writer thing with confidence and aplomb. They sell a hell of a lot of books, too.

So, here I am, somewhat confident that I know what I’m doing, scrambling always to get better at the craft (I know that sounds pretentious, but I really mean it) of writing. I’ve sold some things at professional rates, though not enough to qualify for me for Active HWA status (yet).

I just got accepted into The Horror Zine for their fall issue. Just hit the stands today in fact. I’m extremely proud of this, because it’s a great magazine and because my story is first on the table of contents (ToC in the vernacular – see?).

I’m somewhere in the middle of my learning curve. I get asked to write for stuff sometimes. I have a very small but loyal fan base (not all of whom knew me before I started writing). I’ve been nominated for a couple of awards, though have yet to bring home a trophy. Yet, I am really still a nobody to most readers.

In the pond of writers just starting out, I am kind of big fish, and I frequently try to help the little fish by sending them links to markets, reading their work and suggesting ways to improve.

In the pond of professional (technically, I’m a professional, because I get paid to write, but I mean Professionals – the ones who can make a living at it) writers, I’m a tiny fish swimming along, trying not to get eaten before I can get big enough to stand on my own.

So, what kind of fish am I?

I’m a working fish. I’m a striving fish. I’m a fish that doesn’t know when to quit. I’m a struggling, anxious, terrified, excited fish who just wants people to read his words.

For now, I’ll keep swimming, keep writing, keep editing and submitting. I don’t know which pond I’m in right now. I know which one I want to be in though: the big one. I’ll be a little fish there for sure, but I’ll tell you one thing: I’ll grow. Maybe only a little. Maybe I’ll never be a big fish. But, I’ll swim with them.

So, if you’re a writer and you’re not sure how well you’re doing or if you’re ever going to succeed, relax. I’m pretty sure we all feel that way. Even the big fish.