This week I made a mistake. I wrote a brilliant short story that absolutely met all the criteria for a competition except one. The organisers stipulated that it was only open to unpublished authors. This was clearly stated at the top of the rules, not buried in the small print, so I only have myself to blame. And I cannot reuse the story because the characters were unique to that franchise.
How did this happen? Simple. I rushed into the writing because I was excited about the project. I enjoyed the process more than I have enjoyed some of my other writing in recent times. That clouded my judgment, persuading me to forgo my normal preparation and checks. Measured in lost time, and potential earnings, this could be a significant setback, but I regard the experience as positive.
It reminded me that being able to write what you want and have it published by someone else is a privilege that has to be earned.
Paul Williams is a writer of fiction and non-fiction best known for his Jack the Ripper suspect encyclopedia.