To me, there is almost nothing that could beat that (well, "You got the job.", "You've been accepted to grad school.", "Will you marry me?" and "You've won a million dollars." might). There is such a high that one feels, knowing that someone finds their writing good enough to publish. That feeling can carry me for days. Until I receive a rejection.
The hardest part about submitting my poetry to journals has been the rejection. I’m like every other person. I want praise! I want to be told that I am a part of an elite group of published writers just because I am published somewhere. I am also greedy. The more I get published, the more I want it to continue. I am tremendously grateful to be published anywhere. But I want more!
I want to be published in publications that other writers whom I deeply admire have been published in. I want to be considered as great as they are. When I get a rejection, I feel like I will never be anyone in the poetry world. The first thoughts in my head are not “How do I improve?”, they are “What did I do wrong?”.
It’s hard to ground yourself at times. I know that even though I have been writing poetry for ten years, there is so much I have to learn. I know that some of the writers I admire went through the trenches of graduate school and workshops first. I know that they have been rejected so many times before they were published. But part of me feels like I have to skips steps to catch up.
I have watched poets younger than me get the recognition I have been craving for. I know that I am young in some aspects (24 years-old), but when you have seen poets younger than you receive awards and have books out, you start to wonder about your own choices.
I am not an outgoing person. You won’t find me at any of the open mics in New York City. I am happy with my pen and my pad (or my fingers and keyboard). I rather let the whole world read my work than to let them hear me read my work. I feel like this has hindered me somewhat. No one knows who I am. Yet I have been writing longer than these younger poets and probably have written more.
I do not begrudge them of their light. I admire many of them as I do the older poets that I sort of know through Facebook. I just need to vent. And to write anything at this point.
I am going through writer’s block and have been since May. I decided to concentrate on sending my work out instead. And while the acceptances have been coming in, the rejections count has increased more than I would like it to.
When I first decided to write a little bit about my experience with publishing so far, this entry was going to go in a different direction. My thoughts were more organized. I did not spill out as many insecurities. But as I have been writing this, I realized that since I am not a part of an elite group of published writers who talk to each other and hang out together yet, that I need to let it out.
Going through this process takes hits to your ego everyday. You realize how mean you are sometimes when you read someone else’s writing and feel a little bit jealous. You won’t always feel good about yourself or about the good fortune of others. There is a dark side that puts you through the ringer.
Yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am learning. I am realizing my potential and my faults. I am starting to realize where I can improve and how to go about it. And I am happy for other poets and writers who have all of this wonderful stuff happening to them. I know that my time will come.
A friend of mine once told me that I am one of best poets that he knows. I am on his top three or something like that. When I start to feel down about rejections, I remember things like that. And I go and take a look at the stuff that has been published.
I will get there. I will get there. I WILL BE WHO I WANT TO BE!
Lesson One: Feel it, feel it all. There is nothing wrong with negativity as long as you can find the positive in the end.