February 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
When I was in third grade, I wrote a poem about a rainbow. My teacher was definitely a little crazy and ended up having to take anger management before she could return to school, but she heaped praise on it and my parents ending up framing it in our hallway. It still hangs there today, an old Microsoft word document in rainbow ink to match the theme.
I consider that my first publication.
Teachers have asked me over the years if I’d be interested in trying to get published. Fifth grade, sixth grade, eighth grade, college. I never pursued it because I said publishing didn’t matter to me. I simply enjoyed writing, and the whole process sounded tedious anyway.
I now think there was, and is, a bit more to the story than that. Writing to me was private, sacred. It was where I could go and then come out feeling a bit more okay. Sure, it gave me an ego boost when my teachers said nice things, but I was still afraid of exposing myself to the world and seeing what they had to say. I didn’t think my fragile self-esteem could take rejection. There was something much safer in receiving an A and being teacher’s pet.
Tonight I was lazing around my computer, stuck in that unproductive rut that makes me feel like my life is slipping by and I’m doing nothing to save it, when I decided to reread some pieces I wrote for a creative writing class last semester. And then, seized by some manic impulse, I began researching literary magazines and writing cover letters. A few hours later, I had submitted a poem and a short story to two different publications for consideration. For the first time.
I felt that this was important to share because while being published has always been and still is my biggest dream, I’ve done very little to actually achieve that dream. I write pieces, I write half-finished pieces, I sometimes share them with close friends, and then I think about how impossible it is to be a writer. I feel sorry for myself and I lay down the pen.
But there is something so invigorating about action. Writing itself is action-when I feel overwhelmed and lost in the foggy realm of my mind, writing is the physical act that makes me feel like I’ve done something. I’ve tried. And tonight, I tried. I’m not concerned with being accepted-I engaged in very little revision and was unclear about how to write my very best cover letter-I’m concerned with knowing I can say I tried. No more whining. Just movement towards a goal. No matter how small that movement is.
And it may sound all a little cliche, but it’s true. If you want something, you’ve got to go get it. If you want to be heard, you’ve gotta make some noise.
February 4, 2013 § Leave a comment
The creative adult is the child who survived. -Ursula K. LeGuin