We are now over the hump of the first half of the year and this is right about the time I’d love to be announcing “Guess what? I had work accepted for publication!!” Unfortunately… that’s not the case. And it’s awful easy to feel down about it.
Some rejections I expected. Big publications that accept a very small volume of work. But hey, pie in the sky, right? The answer is always no if they don’t even see your work.
Other rejections I had hoped not to see, felt like I had a better chance of finding placement, but in the end it was not to be. Once again… small volume of work accepted. Maybe I just wasn’t a good fit for the editor.
But at the same time my feelings on the matter are still bolstered this year.
First of all, I have managed to send out at least one submission every month, just as I promised myself at the beginning of the year. (You can read that post here.) Receiving acceptance or rejection letters are outside of my realm of control, but making sure my work finds its way to editors is in my control. In the first 6 months of the year I sent my work 17 times. (4 of those submissions are still active.) I hope to vastly increase that in the latter half of the year, but it’s more effort than I’ve ever put in before and so this is progress. Really good progress.
The first half of the year I devoted little time to writing. There was so much going on that spending time writing was one of the easiest things to temporarily cut from my life when I needed to take a break and breathe. I made the rule with myself that I would not avoid writing if I felt the need to pick it up, but that I would not specifically dedicate butt-in-chair time to it either. That resulted in a couple of pieces, but mostly a long sabbatical.
I think giving myself permission not to write was a good idea. Not too long after I came home from an overseas trip I felt ready to write again. More than ready. I feel like words are dripping out of me and I need to scoop them up in a bucket and start arranging them. I’m giving myself time to write. I’m loving it again. And even though I’m not up to the time-allowance of writing I’d like yet, I’m working toward it. I came back with a lot to tell, old things and new things alike. But the biggest key is that I feel ready to tell them. I agree that one can’t always wait on inspiration, but it is best to sit down to poetry (and other writing) when you aren’t going to hate every second of it too. I aim to spend the second half of the year continuing the now-habit of submitting my work, hopefully increasing the number of submissions, and beginning to re-foster the habit of writing.
Secondly, while I’ve had nothing but rejections thus far this year, I’ve had two very good ones. Both personalized. Both with feedback on my work. One gave me some very specific ideas of what to work on to strengthen my writing, while also telling me what they appreciated about what my writing already does. The other picked up on some themes in my submission and addressed those briefly. They really enjoyed what I had to say and how I had to say it, but the work in front of them at the time did not fit the theme their open-call had morphed into as they accepted work.
Both were rejections, and yet, in a way, they weren’t. I now feel more confident that while my writing has so much room to grow and get better, it’s also definitely on that path. I feel reassured that my writing is something worthwhile, not just to get the words out of my head, but also to share with others. I feel like if I continue to dedicate myself to my words and work hard at them, one day they could take me somewhere.
Now it’s up to me to make sure I give writing a place in my life.