It was a year ago, April 1, that I made the difficult decision to drop one day of work at the office and to, instead, devote that day to my writing. The plan was very clear: create pieces, enter them into contests and work to get them published. I can say with pride that, but for a few days here and there, Wednesdays have become my writing days. My loved ones have made the transition with me (Thank you so much!) and now support the time I spend locked away in my room. While I may have “lost” a day’s pay at the office, I gained an extra teaching day and have managed to essentially fill my weekday classes; therefore, nothing, really, was lost. After a relatively short time, I got to spend more time in my life getting paid to do what I love. Amen.
Today another one of my pieces was rejected. That makes for a 100% rejection rate. One year later, not one single piece that I consciously put out into the world has been accepted by an outside source. And still I write on. I remember sitting with my teacher in a private session as I began the process. She was questioning how I thought I would manage any rejection of my work. I recall saying, with absolute calm and certainty, that I would be okay. I knew that, just because some judge in a contest did not choose my work, did not mean my work was crap. There are all sorts of reasons for a rejection and, so long as no one was nasty to me, I would be just fine. One year later I can honestly say that all really is well.
The whole experience has been very interesting and has provided me with a number of learning experiences. I was approached by an online publication to submit poetry on a regular basis. In questioning one of their policies, I discovered I was not particularly fond of their philosophy nor their style of communication. That experience allowed me the wonderful opportunity to tell a publication that their product was not a good match for my work–I got to reject them…and it was fun. I have also learned that the whole process of submission destroys a bit of something for me. Adding an element of competition to my creative life gets me feeling like a crab in a bucket filled with other crabs dragging each other down as they try to reach the top. That’s not why I started doing this. I started because I needed to, because, without feeding my relationship with the written word, I go a bit nuts and nobody likes that much. I do it for the sheer joy of creating word-pictures, and for the challenge of taking the complex mess that’s in my head and straightening it out with words. I do it because I love it, but the competition was killing that so, I’m glad it’s gone. I feel no further need to compete. I have my glorious little blog-home and, for now, that’s perfectly good enough.
If I could say something to the writers out there it would be this: Don’t let anything get in the way of your love affair with words. Don’t let the rejections stop you. Don’t let silence stop you. Don’t let others’ opinions stop you. If you need to write, write. If you love it, commit to it as you would a loving relationship. Fight for it. Nurture it. Romance it. Just don’t let it go. If you need to write, write, no matter what. And if you need to share your voice with the world, start a blog, leave notes on public benches, slip a poem inside a book in the library, just do something. You don’t need the outside sources to make your voice be heard. The establishment writers once relied upon is gone. If you need to share, self-publish, baby. Go all the way! ;)
In honour of my one year anniversary, and of all the things I’ve learned thus far, I offer the very first poem I created back in April, 2012.
Many blessings, much love, and all the support in the world for your creative ventures,
to water to wind.
stamp –presses down
– a tender pool of waves.
Wind-whisked water, warmed by sun,
nourishes the earth.
is my soul.
At the depths,
wind finds a crack and enters, filling me
Dropping to open, I
– liquid gold.