So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca
Showing posts with label rejections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rejections. Show all posts

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Writing and Writers

Back row: Roger Carlson and MC Brooks
Front row: Dottie Wershing, Carol Gladders and Brenda Kay Ledford

In the photo above you see five of the eight students who were enrolled in my memoir writing class this fall at Tri-County Community College in Murphy, NC

Four of these students have taken my classes several times. It is inspiring to see the improvement each has made since that first class. Two of them published this summer. Roger submitted an op-ed piece to his local newspaper and it was accepted. MC Brooks submitted one of her family stories to an anthology, It's All Relative, Tales from the Tree, edited by Celia Miles and Nancy Dillingham. You can find MC's personal narrative on page 29. 

In this class all students were intermediate or advanced. When students come back again and again to take my classes, I consider it a great compliment to my skills and my ability to help them enjoy learning. I was once told that one of my greatest talents was creating an environment of safety and comfort that enabled new writers to share their poems or stories without fear. 

I know that is important because I have been that new writer, that new poet, who felt terrified when asked to read my work out loud to a group. I have been that person who was not sure if my writing had any promise. Sharing writing is a bit like handing off your first-born to a stranger and hoping he will handle her with love and care. 

I also know that even the most experienced, published writer still sweats out each new submission whether it is a short story or a manuscript for a book. No one wants to face rejection. Once I learned that, I became much stronger when faced with rejection of my work. We have to know that an editor's rejection is not personal and we must not have our feelings hurt. The rejection is probably because the work doesn't fit the editor or publisher's needs at the time. 

A beginning writer faces the challenge of submitting work with no previous publications on his resume'. He hopes an editor will read his story or essay and like  it enough to give him a chance. Today we hear that editors Google a writer's name first to  see if he has anything online that shows the editor that he will bring readers to the publication. That seems unfair. 

Some publishers, however, say they don't want to know what you have published, they want your writing to impress them and if it does,  it will be accepted. I wonder if that is the exception.

We write because we love it and sometimes because we can't not write. I know excellent writers and poets who don't care about seeing their work in a book other than for their family. Whether we publish our work or write for our own satisfaction, we write. But to have our work read and appreciated by other people is the goal of most writers. I hope to communicate with readers whether in my family essays, short stories, poetry or on this blog. 

I appreciate your reading my posts. I hope you enjoy them and I love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment or send an email.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Why Count our rejections?

I am always surprised when I read that a writer knows exactly how many rejections he has received. I wonder why one would want to rub salt in the wound that occurs when the rejections arrive. I make note that the journal has rejected my work, and then put the info away in my files. I have two files in the drawer. One has all my acceptances and the other has rejections. Those that come now by email get filed in my documents. I have no idea how many times my work has been rejected.

Once a poem has been turned down a couple of times, I revise it and send it out again to different publications.  I have an idea of the number of  publications I have because I list them on my blog, but I have never counted them to make me feel good or bad. If I counted all the rejections , I am sure I’d be unpleasantly surprised. Since I have no idea of their number, I never think about it.

Part of my approach to life is making sure I don’t poke sticks in my eyes anymore. Why torture myself when it is unnecessary and does no one any good? Why would I lash myself with a big whip?
Instead of thinking of the negative, I glory in my acceptances when they come and share them with friends that I know care about me. I think it is best to celebrate our greatness every chance we get.