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That ‘Published’ Buzz with Teresa Sweeney

Writing.ie | Magazine | Tell Your Own Story | Writing & Me
Teresa Sweeney

Teresa Sweeney

I have always loved to write.

I remember, when I was nine or ten years old, reading aloud some ridiculous poem that I had written. Something about ‘an uncooked hen’. Everyone laughed. And it was the best feeling in the world! Now I’m fairly sure they were laughing at me and not the poem, but back then, it didn’t matter. I was hooked.

When I was in secondary school I wrote so many poems. They were my diary. But I wasn’t brave enough to share them. In 2004, Crannog magazine published one of those teenage angst poems of mine. I had written it during those years (which lasted way too long), but only submitted the poem four or five years later. I felt proud of myself that I had put my name to it; people would see that I wrote it. But I didn’t tell anyone I knew about this publication until years later. Even now, since I have put that same poem on my website, I cringe when I see it.

Poetry is just so personal. I don’t know if it’s like that for real poets, but that’s how it is for me.

I always wrote fiction too. And that has become my real passion. Writing short fiction is a great escape for me. I can create anyone, be anywhere, do anything! I have fallen into the realm of short fiction. I love it. My favourite thing to do is to just go and write. But for me sometimes the battle is to sit and start, and to have that determination and drive.

The first short story of mine to be published was in WOW! Anthology, 2011. I was on holidays with my sister and friend when I saw the email. It was the best feeling ever.

Getting on a short list, or a long list, or even if the miracle of getting published happens, gives me that same feeling of absolute fantastic-ness!

Of course I’ve had more refusals that I could possibly remember. Almost any non-spam email I get is a refusal. And yes, each one is a bit of a punch in the stomach. These are all bits of me, bits of myself that I send out. And it hurts when they are refused.

But for every 100 refusals (and there has been way more than that), there is the absolute wonder of an editor emailing me, saying they like what I wrote, and they are putting it in the next issue.


If one day I became madly famous (a girl can dream) I know that I would still never grow tired of seeing my story out there, where other real people can read it. Even if people hate it, and that is almost ok, because it was out there and I got to have that feedback.

A few years ago I did two creative writing classes with Susan Millar De Mars. It got me going. Last year, I did a short writing course with Celeste Ague in the Galway Arts Centre. It opened me up to that crazy girl inside. Now I’m just waiting for Celeste to start classes again, I need her help to get these random ideas out and in order!

In Wordlegs Issue 11, 2012 a story I had submitted was published. I thought for ages, will I share this link on Facebook? Will I let other people that I know read this? I knew I would be judged. But, in a moment of madness, I put the link up. And I got feedback, not all good, but feedback nonetheless. And I’m still grateful for every comment.

Last Christmas became truly magical when I opened an email from Roadside Fiction. My story ‘How to Plan the Perfect Murder’ was going to be published. I shared the link with friends, and non-friends but befrienders, on Facebook. Would everyone I know now think I’m a crazy potential murderer? Yes.

Roadside Fiction also did me the honour of telling me they would add a link in the magazine to a website or blog I had. But I had neither. So website creating I went!

Thankfully, a few weeks later, Roadside Fiction added my website link. Here is me, here is a little of what I have written, it is fiction, and some of it gets even crazier than this!

For me, writing is escapism, it’s fun. Sometimes it’s a total head wrecker! But I still love it.

My stories are fiction. But there is always a little bit of me in there. Not necessarily the girl narrating, or the woman remembering, sometimes I’m a bit of the crazy guy or the young kid. For me, that often makes it hard to share what I write with others. But sometimes I just think ‘so what, and look what I did!’ It’s a little like ‘Where’s Wally?’ I’m probably in there somewhere, just really hard to spot.

That’s what writing gives me, that freedom to be and do and say whatever madness I feel like. And worry about judgements later.

I often think of writers as thieves in the shadows. Quietly sitting, watching, listening to people around us. Stealing a little of their conversation, their personality, their story. We take a pinch of salt and turn it into a drum. Yes, we are watching you.

About the author

(c) Teresa Sweeney

Teresa Sweeney is from County Galway. She is 30 years old and writes poetry, short fiction and flash fiction. She was shortlisted for a short story in the WOW! Awards 2011 and her story ‘On the Record’ published. She was named in the Fish Publishing flash fiction competition long list in 2012, and published in Wordlegs online magazine, Issue 11, 2012. Teresa’s short story ‘How to Plan the Perfect Murder’ features in Roadside Fiction, Issue 2, in December 2012. In March 2013 her story ‘Liar Liar’ will be published in Boyne Berries journal. Find out more here:


(my own website which includes 3 stories and 1 poem, which were previously published)


(Roadside Fiction magazine, and my story ‘How to Plan the Perfect Murder’)


(Wordlegs Magazine, and my story ‘How to Live with an Alcoholic)


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