This week there are about 20 different pieces of writing floating around my brain and four of them are actually open in windows on my computer, each in a different state of progress. One is a set of notes on something I am researching. One is half complete – stalled with a difficult transition. One is resting, and one old project keeps tickling my brain asking for me to return.
This is the ebb and flow of writing for me. It’s never a situation where I start a single project and march dutifully to the end. There’s a life cycle to each project that generally follows the pattern of, concept, research, first draft, second draft, rest, and then either post to my blog, or delete. This week there seems to be more stuff in early stages rather than near the end.
Once in a while I think about why I am writing and what my goals really are with this whole practice? Last week I was remembering some of my early desires to be a writer with a capital ‘W’. You know, the well-known novelist who makes a living writing books, short stories and doing personal appearances with the odd college commencement speech. In my 20’s I even made a small attempt at it. I wrote a handful of science fiction short stories and mailed them to some magazines. I even attended a few writer’s workshops and took a couple of classes.
I can now say that I’ve been rejected by some of the best science fiction magazines in the world. I can also admit that most of those stories were genuinely awful. I also now realize that I was more interested in getting published than in perfecting my writing skills. Now, decades later I see that improving my writing should have been the first task.
These days I am starting to feel differently about my writing. As I start on my fourth year of blogging, there is a confidence building my sessions at the keyboard and from time to time I actually think I’ve written something good. I’ve spent a lot of effort in the last decade working on my writing skills and feel that effort is starting to pay off. I don’t want to sound egotistical here, but I do write better today than my 20 year-old self did.
As I gain some measure of confidence, the old desire to get some work published has been returning. I know I’ll never make a living as a writer, but there is a certain sense of accomplishment that happens when your work is selected by an editor. It’s one of the things on my “todo” list, that is now becoming important to me.
So, using everything I know about writing and publishing, I’ve decided to make a more dedicated attempt at getting my writing published. There are two basic things that have to happen to make this happen, writing things that are of a quality to get published and actually submitting them to editors who would publish it.
Sounds simple enough, but there is nothing as complex as simplicity.
There is also the reality that most writers get most of their work rejected. It’s that rejection that becomes the barrier to many writers and myself too. It’s far to easy to take the editor’s rejection personally. Most of the time it isn’t. Editors get thousands of submissions and can only publish a few. Even if you have great writing, chances are it won’t get published.
My plan is simple, write one or two publishable pieces of writing (poems, short stories, essays, etc) a month and then submit them to appropriate publications. Then I’ll sit back and collect the rejection notices. My goal is to have 50 rejections by the end of the year.
It’s a bit of a head game, but it’ll helps lessen the blow of a rejection note.
and who knows, maybe out of all that activity I’ll connect with that one editor with the one poem their publication needs.
For the record, I currently have two pieces submitted and so far have had two rejections. I’ll post the totals as the results come in.
Till next week,