I received a terrific and helpful link this morning to an article by Anne R. Allen. In the article she talks about the Slow Blog Manifesto and what it means, as well as what it can do for the writer in general. I’ve fallen in love. I admit it.
For the first time in three years, I’m getting the kind of advice that makes sense to me as a writer of something other than blogs. Anne enumerated the eight Slow Blog Manifesto rules for long-term success as follows:
1) A slow blog has a longer life-span.
2) You reach more people by commenting on other people’s blogs than by madly posting on a blog nobody reads.
3) Busy people are less likely to subscribe/follow a blog that’s going to clutter their email inbox/rss feed every day.
4) Everybody has bad days. When you have to think of something to say on the day you got that nasty/clueless review/rejection, your emotions are going to leak out.
5) Nobody can come up with that many interesting posts. When you slow blog, and you don’t have anything to say, you don’t have to say it.
6) Writing nonfiction—which is what you should be writing on your blog—uses a different part of your brain from fiction.
7) You write narrative–remember? The blog is supposed to be about getting your name out there as a creative writer. It’s an aid to your serious writing, not a substitute for it.
8) Trying to blog every day is impossible to keep up, so you’ll constantly feel guilty.
With these rules to go by, I no longer have to feel guilty for not having new material here each day, or on any other of my sites. I can take pride in having one good piece a week that readers can take away and think about and, perhaps, utilize in their own daily activities or thoughts. And readers don’t have be slammed with announcements, notifications, and guilt for not looking in on my blogs each day.
Suddenly numbers of hits makes more sense to me. If I begin living my blogging life by these eight rules, I have more time to work on large projects, give more quality content to my readers, and still feel as if I’ve accomplished something during the week. That’s a big deal around here.
So, for those of my readers who feel pressured to read here each day or even every other day, rest assured that as the month progresses, your labor here is be lessened and, hopefully, you’ll have some terrific things to take away when you do come by. Perhaps you’ll see an interview with an editor you’ve yet to know, or an indie publisher that you might need in future.
And if you’d really like to look at the original Slow Blog Manifesto, you’ll learn all of the reasoning and the projected benefits to such a course of action.
I’ll see you all in a couple of days. I can’t let go quite that fast. I still have things to do this month.
Until your next visit, a bientot,
- How often to blog (or not)? A new blogger/writer’s perspective (katenewburg.wordpress.com)
- Who Authenticates the Blogged Word? The Publishers or the Readers? (Feature) (popmatters.com)
- How To Choose A Niche For Your New Blog (dailymorningcoffee.com)
Today, I want to show you how many writersgo about clustering ideas for
The process is simple. Daydreams draw on it all the time. Draw a circle, square, whatever you like in the center of a piece of paper. Go ahead, draw it. Inside that shape, put a word or group of words designating a specific something; desire, idea, plan, objective, goal, or whatever.
For our purposes here, I’ve put “Main Character—Isabel” in my circle. Now, all I’m going to do is let my mind provide everything it can think of that could be related to this character named “Isabel” and draw a line radiating from the circle to the new word. “short” “dark hair” “tanned skin” “Speaks with an accent” “watery eyes” “clubbed foot” “Orphaned” “City dweller” Hates mice” “Can’t read” “generous nature” “hears voices” “Knows the king” and on and on until I fill the page.
I do this exercise quickly. (Most of the time I do this on the computer with my eyes closed.) I don’t stop to ponder any of my associations or to question where any came from. I only write whatever word comes to mind as quickly as possible to make way for the next word.
When I look back at what I’ve written, I will find anomalies. In the example above, some items are capitalized and some aren’t. Why? What is it about the ones with caps that make them important enough to warrant a capital?
Isabel speaks with an accent. Where does she come from if that is true within this story?
Isabel is an orphaned city dweller who can’t read. Why is it critical that I know this about this character?
Isabel knows the king. How does she know the king? Now that’s helpful and important. So, why are the other pieces important, too?
Without answering these questions, I’ll move on to the plot cluster to see if I can find answers there.
Plot Idea Cluster center–(Isabel’s story) “Taken from the king’s household during infancy” “Related to the king” “lives in the weaver’s quarter” “indentured to Master Weaver Challen” “Doesn’t go out in the daytime” “King has ordered a celebration for his son’s birthday” “City faces a dread disease”
Lots of capitals here. Let’s see what I have now. Isabel, disabled with a clubbed foot, lives in the capital city where the king has just ordered the celebration of his son’s birthday and at a time when the metropolis faces a dread disease. An indentured person to Master Weaver Challen, Isabel lives in the weaver’s quarter and doesn’t venture out during the day. How she was stolen from the king’s household during infancy is unclear as yet or what blood relationship she has to the king remains a mystery. Why she was stolen may be a much more important question to answer.
As you can see, clustering works well to find interesting characters and plots. What is done with these ideas determines the final story. More clustering will come, I’m sure. There’re still items to explore like setting, environment (social and physical,) other characters, etc.
Each writer has a unique way to play with ideas. Each has a different perspective on clustering and how it’s used. And each decides for her/himself how deep into it to go. The plot cluster above can be an effective part of a story synopsis, which is critical for the writer. That’s why I’ve come to enjoy them.
There you have it. One technique that’s pliable, friendly, and recyclable. Give it a spin if you don’t use clustering on a regular basis. See if it can work for you.
Tell me your take on this technique and about your experience with it.
Until later, a bientot,
- Morgan Locklear…Wordslinger (June) (bookishtemptations.com)
- Guest Post: Writing Characters With Character by S. A. Garcia (elliscarrington.wordpress.com)
- Loading Words with Lightning (Bugs) (chauncestanton.wordpress.com)
This morning has been one of entertainment and revelation, as well as finding two more writers I want to get to know much better now that I know so little about them. Odd phrasing, I know, but true, nonetheless.
I met John Jakesthrough a short article he did for the June issue of The
Jakes talks about how plot, while important, seldom brings someone back for a second reading of a book. Rather, it is a character that calls the reader back for another look into the life represented within the confines of the book’s covers. That reasoning is one I can agree with without reservation.
audiences both surprised my composition teacher and dismayed her. She felt I wouldn’t be able to grasp the complexity of its story, characters, and plotline at a mere 15 years old.
I devoured this story of colonialist India with it’s coming revolution for sovereignty and its interwoven native characters and English colonials, its love stories—both adulterous and forbidden inter-racial unions, and its political statements. I couldn’t put it down. The depth of the story spoke volumes to me. I wanted more and took the time to find just that.
I went to the public library to find more books by this author. I came away with his Pulitzer winner, “Autumn Leaves” and counted myself fortunate that it was available. I’d discovered a world beyond kid’s literature. I could read something again with the depth and knowledge of Tennyson, Homer, and Shakespeare and get away from what was “acceptable” for my age bracket.
I understood perfectly what John Jakes spoke about. I’ve reread Bromfield’s books half a dozen times since that first introduction. Now I can look forward to reading Jakes’ marvelous volumes of “The Kent Chronicles” and “North and South,” along with anything else I can find.
Once I put way The Writer, I found Canteen Magazine online. I was looking for a new market. I found much more than that. I perused a past issue, while I sorted through the offerings, and came across one of the best writer’s articles I’ve read in months.
Of course, I’d heard of Joyce Maynard but never read her books. There are so many books out there and so little time, I hadn’t yet come to hers; a situation about to change soon.
In her article A Storytelling Life, October 3, 2011, (from Issue Two), Joyce talked of her mother and the early training in storytelling that she obtained by continual exposure. Joyce says:
“THERE YOU HAVE IT. My legacy. Daughter of a master storyteller—for whom allegiance to the truth took second position after reverence for good drama—I took to heart the lessons of two stories told to me when I was very young. One was of the princess locked in a room each night with a pile of straw, instructed to spin it into gold. That was what a writer had to do, I knew: Study a pile of dry sticks and grass, and figure out a way to make it glittering and precious. But the legend I loved even more came from Arabian Nights. It concerned Scheherazade, a young woman condemned to death, who kept a man from killing her by telling him a new and irresistible story every night. Spinning a tale well, I figured, could actually save a person’s life. Possibly mine.”
Throughout the article, phrases spring out to grip the throat of the reader, forcing one’s full attention to the detail given in spare, sharp words. Hers is an example of living without adverbs, of allowing the story to be about character while placing them on a train called “story line” and taken for a ride to allow the reader to see the characters from all sides. Her sentences flow into one another with such ease of statement that one is seldom aware of individual bits of punctuation, while the words place vivid images into the mind without effort.
Maynard explains: “But I learned more than craft under my mother’s ceaseless tutelage. She instructed me in the essence of what well-told stories are meant to accomplish—the idea that the joy of writing well might actually redeem and even trump the raw material of painful experience, thereby revealing deeply meaningful truths to the reader. Days when I’d come home from school, upset by some injustice or the hurtful behavior of a friend, my mother’s words of consolation seldom varied. “Never mind,” she said. “You can always write about it.”
Along with John Jakes article, Maynard’s example of what’s important to any kind of writing will have a special place in my new reference notebook. Take an opportunity to read these articles for yourself. You can find them at:
The Writer Magazine: http://www.writermag.com/en/The%20Magazine/Current%20Issue.aspx
Canteen Magazine: http://www.canteenmag.com/posts/joyce-maynard
And if you happen to come across others that are of special note, drop the link in a comment here for everyone to share.
Happy reading, all, and happy learning. A bientot,
- Canteen magazine seeks to restore writers’ glamour (sfgate.com)
- Whether You Already Have an Angle or Not (claudsy.wordpress.com)
- A “Sexy Magazine” For Serious Creative Writers (pittsburghflashfictiongazette.com)
- One Writer’s Journey (fromdreams.wordpress.com)
- Whirlwinds and Whithers…. (mercuryretrogradeoutandandbout.wordpress.com)
Writers are dead in the water without the internet in the current publishing environment. Everything concerning the writing business is online, including, but not confined to, publishing houses, editor and other manuscript related services, promotional company services, writers-for-hire and their job sites, and the list goes on.
How do we make choices for those projects that need a market?
Not including newsletters, I receive market listings from several sources each week. Within each of those sources are seemingly countless markets looking for stories, articles, poetry, essays, etc. One listing alone can take up a single day of reading, speculating, and planning for future projects, which require note-taking.
At the end of that day, the original question stands unanswered and has bred a new one. What criteria will be used to eliminate choices?
Here’s an example. I have a finished piece entitled “A Teacher of Spirit,” which is multi-dimensional. It contains: memoir, children’s, inspiration, and instruction. That gives me four potential primary areas to search for markets.
- I plug in to the mass market magazine listings first. I want to see if I can find a paying market that will make my time worthwhile. On any given day, there will be at least five markets that accept inspiration pieces, unsolicited, and with less than a three month response time. Those factors are critical to me. I write down the particulars, as well as the differences between publications’ needs.
- I move on to children’s magazines. I scan those names I know well to check for current needs or upcoming themes. I find two that might be successful submissions. As with my previous search, I note the publications, their needs, wants, themes, etc. I also note which ones I could do similar pieces for with different slants. I might be able to rework this essay to fit a different magazine.
- Moving on to instructional/parenting magazines, I find three that could work if I make a few changes in the essay’s approach and emphasis. That could do well. I haven’t published in that area before. This market could answer for both the instructional aspects as well as inspirational aspects. I could do a simultaneous submission with these and a slightly shifted version of the essay.
- I repeat the entire process for those publications of the literary persuasion. This takes longer simply because there looks to be an endless stream of literary magazines of various circulation sizes. Here I come up with dozens of possibilities.
- The initial sorting steps leave me with a long list that needs prioritizing. Ranking markets from greatest chance for success to the lowest takes time, but that time is lessened with every use of the process. The more experience a writer has looking through possible markets, the more easily the sorting and prioritizing becomes.
- The resulting “Chances” list gives me plenty of potential. There are two excellent possibilities in the Inspirational column where I can send an original version of the essay. I choose the top three from the Literary column. I can send simultaneous submissions to those and the essay revised to reflect a different angle. Two choices come from the Children’s column for submissions that require tweaking for content needed by the individual magazine. All three from the Instructional/parenting column can be sent tweaked versions.
Once all of those choices are made, I can move on to separating out those essay copies that will go as is. Each publication gets its own query letter/cover letter, according to that magazine’s guidelines. (Doing a careful study of the guidelines is essential.)
As soon as those submissions are on their way to potential new homes, I tackle the next group of newly slanted versions, and so on to repeat the selection process.
Finding the markets is simple compared to preparing different versions of the same essay for multiple audiences and magazine needs. Getting the balance right can be difficult and time consuming. The upshot is that I learn more about writing and its needs with each round of choices I make. That’s a plus that I can take to the bank.
It isn’t uncommon to spend two or three days on this process if six or more markets are approached. Like all writers, I have other things on my editorial calendar than submitting articles or stories. I allow specific time for this task on that calendar, now more than ever before. It has as much importance as writing, more than blogging, and slightly more than social media.
Hopefully, this look at my marketing and submission process helps someone else.
That’s all for now, folks. Below are links to various marketing resources. Explore them for yourselves.
Duotrope will take you to a lovely little site with big impact. Many writers rely on this source for finding new markets, and keeping up on those online markets that are no long viable.
Sharing with Writers http://sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com/ has all sorts of industry info, including markets to watch.
Poets and Writers Magazine which has a free online sign-up that can get you hooked up with many market listings, including those for contests, grants, fellowships, agents, etc.
The Writer Magazine and it too has a free newsletter, plus market listings for publications, agents, etc. This is a marvelous site with all sorts of cool info.
The home of Writer’s Digest also has a free newsletter, market listings, writer communities and lots more.
- Tips and Markets for Personal Essays (creativityorcrazy.wordpress.com)
- Resources for Aspiring Fiction Authors: How To Get Published (tinaannforkner.wordpress.com)
- Whether You Already Have an Angle or Not (claudsy.wordpress.com)
- The Writer Magazine Online – Free Access to All Sections (barbaratyler.wordpress.com)
- Market, Submissions Guidelines and Contest Deadlines for March 2012 (keikihendrix.com)
The point was for each member to submit a piece of work each day, to always strive toward publication in whatever venue desired. We have member writers of all sorts, and we’ve had great success in our latest endeavor. We recognize that some cannot manage that kind of time table and it’s okay that they only submit once a week, a month, or whenever they can.
We cheer each other on, congratulating the member for each submission, and cheering but supporting when a rejection comes in, because it means that the writer sent something out, took a chance, and is willing to do so again. (We’ve decided to use rejection slips as wallpaper in our office areas to stimulate new growth in our craft.)
We share resources, new venues and their needs, successes (that’s when we celebrate), and all other aspects of this industry we love and can’t live without. Along the way, we help each other. Ours isn’t a competition. It’s more a team effort where each team player is given whatever is needed to succeed. When a member gets an acceptance notification from a publication, it validates all of the members.
In the past week or so, our efforts have steadily come climbed into the higher acceptance zone, which gives everyone a boost in morale. Sure there are still rejections. Those will never go away, and I’ve received my fair share since we started the group. That hasn’t and won’t change.
What has changed is an attitude toward the entire submission process. Whether we’re talking poetry or prose, letting go of a finished piece is never easy for many writers. Each piece is a child. The writer knows, that for that child to be appreciated fully, it must be allowed to roam the outside world. The submission segment of the writing process, for the writer, amounts to putting her small, innocent baby onto the school bus for the first time.
Once the writer has made a habit of seeing a baby onto the school bus often enough, the need to hold onto a piece is broken. And this habit is what J2BL is all about. This is a mechanism to create a submissions habit.
If the past few weeks indicate nothing else, it shows us that we can work as a team to see to the success of each member; to support each other with resources, confidence, and camaraderie. In a world where the term “It’s every man for himself” rings through the streets, our method seems so much better.
I hope for a time when everyone can call such a group their own, to experience the unique closeness of our group, most of whom have never met face to face. I hope that everyone can have someone in their corner, cheering them on, and patting their shoulders when success isn’t instantaneous. Most of all, I hope that everyone learns that life doesn’t have to be a competition, with winners and losers.
This last week, I’ve submitted poetry, essays, and short stories. Today more poetry will go out. I’ve had a short story accepted, and not heart yet on the others. Editor response times vary greatly. Tomorrow I’ll send out something else. Online submissions allow for any day, any time. And for the first time, I’m enjoying the process and the pace. That’s saying something for a writer.
Have a great weekend, all. Relax, if you can. Laugh and enjoy the people you’re with. A bientot,
Coming home from any trip, short or long, requires a person to reacquaint herself with location, premises, and obligations therein. Ask anyone who travels semi-regularly.
When I returned today from Central Washington, fatigue schlepped my belongings upstairs, unlocked the door and returned to the car for another load. Sister did the same. Once ensconced inside, again occupying our apartment, the next order of business was computer, email, and whatever had darkened our cyber thresholds during our absence.
Embedded within the hundred plus emails of my main inbox were two from editors. I didn’t need to read them. I knew they contained rejections. They’d arrived too quickly from new venues I’d submitted to the previous week.
I was right. They sat there, staring at me, daring me to protest. I couldn’t. Rejections are a fact of life for every writer. The first time I saw Jane Yolen post about receiving a rejection for a story, I almost cheered; not because she’d received bad news, but because she’d received bad news was willing to flaunt that rejection on Facebook for all the world to see.
I gathered strength from that act of personal/professional bravery on Jane’s part. She was the first well-known working writer whom I’d seen admit to receiving that palest of pink slips from an editor. Hope sprang to my heart. Perhaps I wasn’t a terrible writer after all.
Now, all this time later, I’ve begun racking in my own pile of pale pink slips. I’ve an area of wall beside my desk which will soon be decorated with them as a constant reminder that if I stop receiving them, it’s because I’m not sending out any work for judgment. The reminder to keep writing will be lurking, available for loud recriminations should I forget.
After I’d dealt with mail, uploaded work to go out for guest blog this coming week and another small bit of brainstorming I’d done yesterday, As soon as I got up from a short nap, I returned to my secondary email inbox and found another rejection. The personal note was nice. Still, it will go on my Wall of Encouragement.
All of this rejection could have turned maudlin, but I was saved by Randy Bell. Randy is a super-duper poet with an engaging personality and talent. I found his comment on Claudsy’s Blog about dropping in to collect my Award. I was confused. Award?
I did as instructed and slipped over to his second abode, “Coudfactor5.” He’d posted a lovely piece about poetry and encouragement and how Jlynn Sheridan had honored him with a Liebster Award for creating and operating a killer blog. This award of appreciation goes around the blog-o-sphere on a regular basis, and personally, I’m so happy that someone felt I deserved one.
Thank you so much, Randy, for this show of your recognition of my work.
The rejections received over the weekend and the anticipated future rejections melted into a puddle of inconsequential trivia. This one small mark of appreciation was worth so much more than all the rest. Suddenly, I was vindicated. The sunshine returned to my day.
There are obligations tacked onto this Liebster Award. They are:
- link back to who nominated you (see my “Thank you” below)
- nominate five blogs with fewer than 200 follows (see my “blog noms” below!)
- let nominees know by leaving a comment on their sites; and
- add the award image to your site
I thought long and hard about nominations. I’ve been surfing for weeks, looking into others’ writing, blogging, and aspirations. This was a concrete way to keep the appreciation moving along. I’ve read so many marvelous sites, learned so much about writers, known and unknown, that whittling down to five nominees was ridiculously difficult. I did choose my short list, finally, with regret that I couldn’t send out one to everybody.
I chose those who’ve worked hard and long to bring a blog into fruition and who have given the reader thoughtful content and peeks at talents yet to emerge. I’ve awarded the Liebster Award to:
Cindy Brown for all of the humor rolling down the aisle of her blog “Everyday Underwear”
Lori Tian Sailiata (aka Lara Britt) for her honest and exploring blog “Writing Space”
Linda G. Hatton for her blog which doubles as a collector of loyal customers for her poetry challenges, discussions, and encouragement.
I’m doing something totally different today. This afternoon I had a conversation with a fellow writer and poet. We often have philosophical discussions, and this was no exception. I’d like to recreate a small portion of our talk.
Meena: In my little “boxed” way of thinking:
1. Photographers are seekers, first and foremost
2. Graphic artists are messengers
3. Composers are messengers
4. Singers are channels
5. Actors are mirrors
Me: Yep, I agree about actors. Are writers the interpreters?
Meena: 6. Writers, in my mind, are all of the above
7. Philosophers are interpreters
Me: Ah, okay, I can go along with philosophers. So, let me spell this out differently–
Writers are the philosophers who seek, through pictures, to channel messages and hold up mirrors to their readers, so that interpretations of reality can be seen and appreciated, and a future can be built upon that foundation.
Poetry is the perfect medium in its own way. It’s short, lyrical in form and presents a message, philosophical in method and presentation, and gives the reader an entire picture, however short. And there is music in the cadence and rhythm of the lines that bring home the message.
Meena: I like it. That should be your blog post. I think of ghost writers, for example…
Me: I think on some level it is true. Even the most out-there writers, like early King or Koontz, write about people’s fears and what they’re based on. They give an opportunity to imagine the lengths to which those fears can go. I think ghost writers are even truer for the example. They channel so much of their client, the messages they gained while working with that individual, and so on. They may be only reflecting the philosophy of the client, but the wording, phraseology is their own, which makes or breaks the philosophy.
Meena: I suppose as writers we go “I have something to say”… that something is definitely inspired somehow. Poetry is the most compact package as far as writing goes. It also asks a lot of the readers.
Me: Which is what all messages do.
Meena: I mean… it is a push off a cliff compared to the steady rise of a roller coaster before it crashes down. Longer writing is more like the amusement park ride… a longer experience.. requires different elements to sustain it.
Me: But, in truth, the message itself in the longer piece is buried within all the fluff, description, and other plotting elements. The message is tiny and easily contained in one sentence.
Meena: Not always…. that is the skill of the writer
Me: That’s true, but the essential message can be as simple as, “falling for the wrong person can screw up the rest of your life.” The message is only the seed that becomes the tropical flower amid the jungle.
Meena: That may be the surface message… from that line I already anticipate a lesson on regret, second chances. Choices.
Me: Or on salvation, according to the interpretation done by the philosopher.
Meena: exactly… to me all of that is the message… not the one sentence plot headline
Me: Ah, so we have a difference in definition. Isn’t that always the way? One has to define the emphasis of the message before deciding on the interpretation.
And so the discussion continues at a later date. The question to be answered is whether the roles played by the writer do take on the jobs of photographer, designer, composer, etc., and whether definition of the message can only come after its emphasis has been determined.
Everyone who works with words, in whatever capacity, has an opinion on this question. I’m asking all readers to chime in on this issue.
Does the emphasis of the message determine the definition of that message within the text one writes? Also, does the writer wear all the hats described?
Tell me what you think about this. Let me know if you agree, disagree, or wish to remain anonymous.
Have a great week, all. A bientot,
PS: Tomorrow, I will be having an interview with Walt Wojtanik, writer and poet. Be sure to drop by and see what he has to say about verse, choices, and futures.
- Hume and Wittgenstein (manwithoutqualities.com)
- Beyond Good and Evil (marmysz.wordpress.com)
- You are a Writer: So Start Acting Like One by Jeff Goins (Book Review) Reviewed by Tammy (iwokeupyesterday.com)
- Sunday Lit Crit Sermon: Emmeline B. Wells on Young Writers (motleyvision.org)
Writers live and prosper by sending material out to publishers, magazines—print and online—and freelancing. Anyone who’s spent time around a writer picks up that working reality.
After April’s writing challenges wound down on the 30th, May was ushered in with a group challenge to submit at least one poem, story, article, etc. each day for the month of May. Many of us groaned at the thought of such a challenge. Others took the reins in their teeth and charged ahead like their hair was on fire.
I’m one of those on fire. My reasons may be a bit different than some, especially those who submit on a regular basis. I’ve been trying to get one piece out each week for several months.
Suddenly I’ve been dared to find something, create something, modify something and get it out before bedtime each day. Finally, a serious dare that will help me create a habit that’s beneficial to my future.
In the first three days, I sent out one story and two packets of poems. I haven’t worked on today’s material yet, though I’ve decided what it will be. The story is ready and the market selected.
In the past three days, the story was rejected, as was one of the packets of poems. **Some editors are really quick. **
Not to be discouraged, I keep sending things out. Why? Because that’s what writers do; we send out our work until somebody buys it.
I read an article a few weeks back about rejection slips. The author talked about enjoying each one as it arrived; using it as wallpaper around one’s desk; and knowing, each time he glimpsed it, that he’d come that much further in the writing game.
I’ve thought about that philosophy this week as my inbox gathers virtual pink slips, and I’ve decided that he’s right. Without sending my work to publishers and magazines, I can’t count myself as a writer. Each time I receive that little rejection, it’s a signal that I’ve gained more confidence in my abilities.
It’s a flag of honor, knowing that someone read what I sent. The editor may or may not have sent a personal note with the rejection—I had that personal note on the story, and a form rejection on the poetry, so I’m batting 500, which is great. I can see each rejection as a success in its own right.
I’d submitted something to someone. It had been read and understood. It may not have fit the editor’s needs at that moment, but I’d succeeded in taking the risk.
In the case of the story, the editor told me how much he enjoyed my writing and would like to see more of it. Guess who’s getting my next effort. That editor’s note was definitely a successful rejection.
When using that philosophy each day, I’ve had one success so far that first day, albeit a small one for some, but a big one for me.
I wrote. I submitted each day. And I went back for more.
I’ve now established a minor relationship with an editor who likes how I write. I know what he wants now and that I can fill that need. If I hadn’t sent a piece that was rejected, I wouldn’t have that connection now. It doesn’t mean that I can slide or coast. It means I get a good shot at acceptance in a paying market.
This habit of daily marketing will take the month to establish. I don’t mind the wait. The time allows me to rework my editorial calendar, polish old pieces that need airing, and generally learn and practice more of my craft. That is the best success of all.
- Seven Tips For Dealing With Rejection Slips (sylviamorice.wordpress.com)
- Hope at the Bottom of The Slush Pile (butterflyjulz.wordpress.com)
- How To Deal with Rejection without Losing Your Mind (lcrwblog.wordpress.com)
- A very personal argument against self-publishing- I need the gift of rejection (autumnmacarthur.com)
- Rejection (marshasusantracy.wordpress.com)
Today marks the end of the March “Whether” blogging challenge elicited by BlogHer network. It’s been an interesting month. You learned that someone could write something about writing every day for one month.
You learned how one writer actually thinks about writing, and what this writer has absorbed of some of the needs for this career. Above all, you learned that someone else loved words and their use in self-expression as much as you do. That’s quite a bit to take in about someone else.
Along the way, there was conversation about how writing affects and is affected by the outside world. No man is an island if he writes is a truism to remember. However isolated someone is, so long as he expresses himself in words, he communicates who he is to those who read those words.
Whatever the art form, the viewer/reader glimpses the internal workings of the artist. Picasso with his cubism and abstract renderings, Pollack with his splashes of wild color, Rodin and Russell with their sculptures all spoke to the viewer. Dale Chihuly dominates the gallery when he exhibits his glass marvels. Often the “feel” of a piece tells more about the artist than words ever could.
Photographers click shutters every day, capturing bits of our world and us, to exhibit in myriad ways, lest we forget who we really are and how we came to be where we are. Times change. Technology rides a wave that envelops all in its path. Art forms and their acolytes traipse along behind, ever in technology’s wake, hoping to stay abreast of trends that sweep the beach of daily life and tastes.
With the waning of this challenge comes a new one; one on poetry. Verse is as intimate as a writer can get to the reader. Secrets, long held, roll within the rhythm of a stanza. Emotion flails toward expression within limited space and precise words.
Nakedness of spirit calls to the reader, whether at the ending, the middle, or the beginning of a poem. Verse is the art of writing with glass, exposing inner turmoil, joys, hesitations, and inspirations, all that moves or halts the poet during life. It is raw for all its precision; blatant for all its subtlety; and limitless for all its restrictions.
That is the challenge taking place from tomorrow on to May 1, 2011. Within the span of those thirty days, you will find poems posted here that are written to specific writing prompts. Links to poetry sites will mark each post. Occasionally, other poets may be revealed to those either shy of verse or enthusiastic connoisseurs.
My hope is that you all can enjoy a stopover here each day.
Writers are strange creatures. We wander around our world, a love and hate relationship with that thing we do called writing. Beneath all the setbacks, the frustrations, and the seemingly endless revisions, we cannot quit being writers.
Dream leads to storylines. Storylines pulse through us until we cannot stand the beat any longer and we must DO something with them. It doesn’t matter if we believe they’re good, fully functioning ideas with potential for greatness. What matters is that we thought of them, felt a sharp pricking sensation when they flashed through our minds, and they whispered to us.
This relationship we have with our writing fluctuates with the events and daily routines of our other lives; our lives outside of sitting at the keyboard and communing with the inside of our heads and the movies playing there. It flutters as butterfly wings on the verge of take-off; delicate in form and newness, steel-strong in carrying power. It surges as tides of vibrant, sometimes stereophonic, images that wash over the outward reality of the moment, escorting us to places beyond, among those who don’t frequent our neighborhood.
Dramas vie with sweet romance, which oft-times takes a detour through the war zones of our world to pause amid the childlike wonder created by harpies that fill the skies with black ragged wings and voices ready to pierce metal armor, while children stand ready to protect the innocent from harm.
Along the way, laughter bursts forth from words penned by housewives who profess a lack of understanding as to why the world operates as it does, who keep asking for logic, knowing that human machinations has little of that commodity. Music may soothe the savage breast, but words linger within our spirits, to uplift or depress according to their emotional impact. That is the power of what we do.
Uneasiness with influence and power may hold us static for a time. Fear may prevent us from exhibiting our writing wares as often as we’d dreamed, but it cannot prevent our words from finding release. Like life, writers will always find a way.
Photographers know the plight of the writer. Seeing an incredible sunset and not having a camera in hand, is worse than having a fantastic idea for a story or article—far worse. The photographer can only stand and admire the gift of God’s colors and design while it lasts. When twilight rules, it is gone forever. It cannot be recreated as it was. The writer carries her camera of ideas within her head. Recreating them, while not always simple, is doable.
Musicians straddle that fence of creativity between photographers and writers. They paint their images with musical notes. Like writers there is no physical image involved. The musician’s frustrations are like the writers’ when notes won’t come together as conceived or when concern erupts that patterns of notes are as another composer’s previous music. That concern reflects on a writer’s work as well.
Creative design work, regardless of type, generates that love/hate dynamic within the artist. An artist is what a person is, not what she chooses to be. Non-artists can do the work. That’s true. Non-artists can also put it away and never touch it again.
Regardless of how deep the chasm between our love of what do and our dissatisfaction with it, we keep returning to the keyboard, the pad of paper, the piano or guitar, the camera or the carving tools. Painters, in water or oil, acrylics or pastels, must find release.
There is no craving for us. There is only a need to release what is fomenting inside us, within our minds. To deny that surge of creative energy is to deny ourselves.
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