So there you are, sitting in front of your computer (because whether you write by hand, or typewriter, or computer, you should at least have everything backed up) looking through the files of all the work you have. It’s probably a lot, right? A bunch of poems out of that blank book you always have in the bag you carry everywhere. Unfinished works that you just can’t seem to pick back up, no matter how hard you try, and are considering starting over entirely. Stories that you’ve spent so much time with, writing, editing, revising, rewriting, reading, and rewriting again, that you almost hate them now. Maybe, you’re like me, and have kept all the college work you did including English papers, research abstracts, and essays based on other thinkers’ ideas. If you are like me, then you probably have upwards of 100 to 200 works all set up for submission.
And now you’re laughing.
You’re laughing because none of that is anywhere close to submission ready. Of the probably 100+ works I had (arguably) ready to go when I made my first forray into the submission process, I only felt confident in about seven. The rest were simply bad. I didn’t feel good about how they sounded, and I didn’t have the time, or more truthfully, the motivation to make them better. So, naturally, I had to give up when I exhausted my seven golden tickets, discovering that what is “golden” is subjective. It never occurred to me to write new work, because I was in one of my slumps with short work.
What kills me about that is, I’ve now gone back and looked at my old work – pieces I had then, and things I’ve written since – and it’s not all bad. As a matter of fact, some of it is really quite good in my estimation, and that’s saying something since like any artist my own work is what I’m most critical of. But with a couple of tweaks here and there I may have as many as ten or twelve decent poems and at least one short fiction.
But even better than that, I am writing consistently again. Inspiration has been a fairly constant friend of late, and as long as I’m riding that wave I might as well write some new stuff. Sure, there are ideas for stories (and novels) that are floating around in my mind, and periodically on the paper, but I forget that creative writing is not just fiction and poetry. There is a whole world of creative nonfiction out there that I have only just begun to tap, thanks to wordpress and all of you who are so kind to visit here and read.
And so, with old work to edit and perfect, new ideas, new strengths, and new genres to explore, I am jumping in feet first to submitting. My first attempt will be creative nonfiction, something I’ve never considered even trying to be good at. But what is the point of all this writing that I do if no one ever sees it.