Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A #Retrospective on #Blogging, Or Why All These #Literary #Rejections Are Important

Something occurred to me this morning: totes random, for sure, but still worth sharing. For years on this blog, smart alecks from all corner of the InterWebs told me that I should stop blogging (read: complaining, moaning, bitching, and whining) and get back to writing my opus. The sentiment behind the dig was: "Why do you spend ALL this time blogging when you COULD BE writing."  I consistently rebuffed the implied insult by saying, "I spend plenty of time writing, thank you." And in truth, I am always writing to deadline for my paid consulting gig as a medical writer, and in my spare time I am always writing as fast as I can on my own creative projects. How else would I have a published a book of short stories (okay, granted: when I was a mere child of 28) and then a published novel (okay, so I'm slow: nearly twenty years later when I was 47) not to mention the collection of linked stories coming out in the fall?  I barely even dare to mention the unpublished book of essays no one wants, the nonfiction travel book at a silent retreat and spiritual journey that I can't get any traction on, and the book about being disinherited that is kicking my ass: I'm on version 5 and I STILL don't like it (That's right: version five; tone is everything in this book, and I'm getting closer, I think.) So, yeah, I write plenty. I happen to be fast at it, even though the publishing has come slowly.  And also, here's something I learned recently, all those years of so-called "wasted blogging hours" (that someone was always pointing out to shame me) WERE contributing absolutely to the ultimate success of my so-called literary career. I mean, people LOVE a literary genius (if you happen to be one, which I am not) but they don't come looking for you, and they surely don't let you sit around and be brilliant without dusting off the old dog-and-pony show and taking it on the road virtually and IRL.  So, in essence, though maybe the whole enterprise is pretty insignificant in the world of the written word, I don't regret a single minute I spent on this blog. Especially because--this is important--it is hard to find community and comfort and consolation as a writer, or just a regular person, in this culture. And I found that here with all the patchy, scratchy, and sometimes illustrious mice who came around to complain or boast or start a fire.  I really needed you guys on my darkest days, and on most of my light days, too. So, thanks, you all, for being part of LROD. Even the trolls who used to drive me crazy and don't come around any more.  I miss the days when blogs were relevant, and maybe they still are. Surely, I still come around to write a word or two here, even if you can find literary rejections and iterations of this dumb idea all over the floor of the Internet. I guess, you could say my work here is done in the initial sense of pulling publishing out of the closet and into the light a bit.  Or whatever the hell this is.  That's all for now.  Keep writing and plugging away and sending your work out and believing in yourself (even when you don't...and especially then) because before long you will look back and see that it amounted to something very important: your life. 


Emily Saso said...

High five!

Jacob Weber said...

I've very much enjoyed reading about your experiences with submissions. If nothing else, it's been a good PSA for people like me. I blogged for almost a year about similar stuff; some of it was just about rejections, some of it was about a bigger question of whether literature was even a justifiable use of time, or whether I found a lot of what is sold as great literature even seems worth the time to read to me. The little feedback I got was similar: quit bitching and write. I've written 15 short stories and a novel in three years in spite of my full-time job, kids, etc. So that's not what's holding me back. If anything, just writing about these things in blog form primed the pump for other writing. I think the resistance has more to do with how writers are supposed to support the notion that of course the system works and that if you just write great work and persevere, it will all work out for you. If writers doubted this system, then what literary fiction market there is would collapse. I take it would-be writers comprise a healthy chunk of the readers of every journal out there. It's a guild system, and we're not supposed to complain about it.