I have a quote hanging on the bulletin board near my desk: A professional writer is an amateur that didn’t quit. When I’m in a rejection streak, as I am right now, I need to slow myself down and read that quote a few times. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I tend to fall into the same old bad thinking when I get a few rejections under my belt.
Here’s what radio station K-F@cked plays in my head (thanks Anne Lamott for the lovely station name):
- “You are wasting your life with this writing thing.”
- “You better switch to writing something commercial or you’ll never make any money.”
- “What are you thinking? You won’t make any money even if you do write something ‘commercial’”
- “Get a real job.”
- “You aren’t making a difference in this world, you navel-gazer.”
- “Why do you think you have any talent, anyway?”
These are not nice things to hear. I would never be this mean to any of my friends, so why am I this mean to myself?
I forget that I’ve written poetry for over thirty years and I only recently began to think about publishing it. I forget that I write poetry because it’s the art form that allows me to get closest to the world, reminds me to pay attention, evokes the wonder of every day miracles.
And so why send my work out for publication? I want to share what I’ve seen. Maybe touch one person’s heart the way I’ve been touched by so many poets. I want to be part of that conversation.
Ah yes, what’s the end of that old saying? “Start all over again.”