On Writing

I’ve decided I have to be more serious. I decide this every day. Whether eating more yogurt or spending less money on nail polish, I try to take initiative on my life, and I feel like that’s a very important step to take as a 22 year old. This last week, I submitted some of my poems to several different places. Not exactly “reach” literary magazines and journals, but certainly definitive venues where I can place my work. I was kind of sad the other day; I finished the first installment of Breaking Bad’s season five after receiving a rejection e-mail and my fiance noticed me moping around and he said, “You’re a writer. Isn’t that part of the deal? To get a thousand rejection letters before you’re published?” 

My fiance is a chef-turned-corporate manager. He loves Vonnegut and is a manic reader, but doesn’t really like poetry unless it’s mine, and I think he’s just buttering me up half of the time. But he’s right. Last night, I was sharing my rejection story with a girl in one of my classes and she said, “Yeah. I know. I know someone who tapes her rejection letters across the mirror in her bathroom.” We agreed that this was too depressing for words.

I am going to have to accept the fact that I’ll be rejected more frequently than accepted, at least in the beginning. I’m an unknown writer, a ghost, a nomad. I have a handful of working poems, and it needs to grow into multiple fistfuls. In addition, my poetry itself is something that will evolve and change for the better via workshops and experience. I obviously need to read more; a professor I had at Chapman told me that when she writes, she surrounds herself with poetry that is either similar to hers, or has the quality that she deeply admires and wishes to soak up. It’s not that she necessarily uses the content, structure, and style to help guide her; it’s more of this sense of direction and maybe inspiration. I read Maggie Nelson’s Bluets and  was astounded by how the color pulled her pieces through this emotional web of stories and factual passages. I wanted my work to reflect feelings like that.

So I made a little reminder for myself and taped it above my desk. Did I use the apostrophe correctly in “others'” by the way? I’m terrible, let me tell you. I need guidelines. I need a personal writing bootcamp every day, because if I don’t, I’ll end up just wishing I wrote an amazing poem instead of actually doing it. And maybe that’s just want I needed, because…

I’m getting published. I’ll have to take “Eve as Girl” off of this blog because that’s what was chosen, oddly enough. I feel like I submitted stronger pieces to the magazine, but hey. It’s my first publication besides Elephant Tree, Chapman’s literary efforts. The issue is coming out in October. More information on this once I know more, of course.

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8 thoughts on “On Writing

    • Thank you! It’s somewhat of a lonely, self-directed path. Even in graduate school, where we are surrounded by fellow writers, we are never given exact directions on how to write, how to be published, how to “make it”. Good luck with your writing, and I hope we can share thoughts and experiences!

  1. I’ve got some poetry you can read at tales2apoint.wordpress.com. For some reason my posts aren’t showing up in the topic feeds, so I’m taking publicity into my own hands! 🙂 Congrats on getting published!

  2. Stumbled upon your blog after reading your creative writing piece at HelloGiggles. I wish I had majored in creative writing, as opposed to smothering the writer in me throughout college and majoring in Political Science instead. I somehow thought this would be more “practical” for my post-grad job prospects (it hasn’t been.) I can definitely relate with your publishing woes, as I’m currently in the same boat. Keep on keeping on, it’s good to know there are others out there! I blog at cestjoys.tumblr.com if you’d like to take a peek, by the way.

      • Thank you! That really means a lot – I love what I see here as well. If you ever feel like bouncing some ideas off someone or could use a writing partner, message me sometime (joymshi@gmail.com) – I’d love to hear from you 🙂

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