I’ve spent years collecting rejection slips and losing writing contests. My closest family has had much experience in trying to lift my spirits with kind words about how much they liked my work, or needing to be honest about possible reasons why the work just isn’t ready, yet. More and more, I’m simply alone in my let down because I can’t bear to share the anticipation, or the negative side of the scale swinging in my direction again. If I ever become the writer of a story that’s wanted by a real publisher, if I ever have that good news to share, everyone who loves me will be shocked at how close my movements can come to the speed of light.
After realizing that a blog can really be anything I want it to be, I decided that I didn’t have to go to my grave with a box of stories on yellowing paper, high on a closet shelf, seeming to exist only for my survivors to remember me by. I love the fact that I can write and “publish” some of my work here. But this week I’ve discovered that some publishers consider a work being online anywhere, to be reason for disqualifying it for consideration. The rules for the specific publication I was considering, didn’t state any exceptions for a personal blog that averages about twenty page views a day. And this made me wonder if some of the “they”s in publishing think of themselves as our adversaries? I thought we were in this together. We write, they publish. Do they think it’s better for writers to live out their lives in professional solitude, praying for something that may never happen? Or do they not realize that we can remove something from our blogs once it’s been accepted? And if that isn’t quite true, I’d appreciate an illuminating comment to the contrary. (Those publishers who reprint articles, seem to understand that a specific work isn’t always found by readers in its original home.)
I realize that things are getting shaky for all forms of the written word. From consumers seeming to want shorter and shorter pieces, to there being a shrinking audience for more literary works; but I hope more publishers understand how little a piece’s appearance on a personal blog affects the prestige of it actually being accepted and published by a real company with a circulation the author could never come anywhere near alone.
I’m one of those people who can’t easily find a good fit with a writing group in my area, to bounce ideas off or trade critiques with. I’ve found my group of sorts here online, through this blog, and I feel comfortable here with them. I don’t really want to ponder the issue of what to include on my blog or not. I’ve found so much more freedom as a writer by being online. I’ve learned so much, so much faster by being here. And I don’t ever want to go back to being as isolated as I was while hunching over my keyboard and wondering if anyone would ever want to read what I produced.
In regard to learning, I’ve just realized while writing this, that it’s actually a tribute to anyone and everyone who is reading it. My head isn’t ever really in the sand– that’s not my personality; but I’d rather be here and as open as I want to be about my work, than worry about all the ways of thinking that I can’t wrap my head around. I want the freedom to be here in my tiny corner of the universe, and I don’t want to worry about it affecting my opportunity to experience the thrill and accomplishment of getting an acceptance letter instead of a rejection. I like the camaraderie and the education I get while spending time here with you, so I guess I’ll just have to look harder for more understanding places to send submissions to– just like all of us who share some of our creative work on our blogs.