Pick yourself up, brush yourself off…

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.”

8 Replies to “Pick yourself up, brush yourself off…”

  1. Glad to hear that reflecting in writing allowed you to quiet those internalized external voices and return to your own essential intention.
    Kudos, gratis: I visit here regularly, and always leave heartened by your musings.

  2. You are making a difference. You can write. If you wrote nothing more than this thoughtful, perceptive blog, you’d be making a difference.

    Thank you for thinking out loud for so many of us.

  3. Thanks everyone for your kind kind words. Writing is a lonely outpost, but a writing community is a warm and wonderful thing.

  4. I sure do get this. I’ve been a writer for a number of years, now, and sometimes the dry spells seem permanent. But of course, they never are!

  5. Ugh, the inner critic. Mine sounds a lot like yours, and even adds her voice to the mix when someone says they like my work (“They’re just saying that to be nice”) and when I get an acceptance (“It’s just a lucky break”). I had forgotten Anne Lamott’s name for the inner critic’s radio station — just that name is a good reminder about the characteristics of the inner critic’s messages. Thanks.

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