Preparing a new workshop while dealing with submission rejection

Last night was another late night up writing. Next week I start volunteering again with Write around Portland. The organizations I am working with are New Avenues for Youth, Outside In, and Portland Center Stage. I just finished putting together the outline for the 3 day workshop and sent my curriculum out. This workshop we will watch and discuss the play Snow Falling on Cedars, playing here in Portland, Oregon. The format of the workshop is similar to the workshop I did back in the fall with the play Ragtime. I never know how many students I will have until the day arrives.

I was up late last night because I found out that Glimmertrain rejected my submission. I tried not to get discouraged or wallow in any of the negative feelings that come with getting rejected. I worked some more on the story, making more changes. Now after thinking about it a bit I feel like, there is still more work I need to do. I changed the ending and I will most likely change the title. Perhaps, it was a good thing I am not getting published because the story still needed some work. I also looked up other places where I can submit.

I am moving through the motions of “writer”. I shrug off the rejection and resubmit elsewhere, but really it is all a façade to how I feel. I have thought a lot about what it is to be a writer and why I do it; why I try to identify with the title and role of the writer, why I feel the need to be published or to have anyone read my work at all. In truth, I don’t believe I have what it takes to be a published writer. I don’t mean my  writing skills or talent, I mean the tenacity and the chops that you need to make it in this competitive world. I didn’t have the pertinacity or drive to sell myself as an actor as a writer I am no different. I don’t take criticism well from my friends, I can’t appease the intellectual and academic writers that I admire, and give far too much credit to, and I don’t believe I have much of a readers market. When I am writing, I don’t think of my audience in the sense of what market they are in. I don’t write to youth or to 30 somethings or to a genre. In earnest, I don’t care to write to appease a market. I do want people to be able to understand, I want to communicate and write clearly, but ultimately, I write they way I think the story wants to be told, I write how I feel, how I want to be spoken with and to. I hope that I can communicate with people of many different ages and backgrounds, I don’t try to target. I don’t want to target. I only share my stories with one person, and that person is someone I trust to be gentle, loving and genuine with my work, something I need far more than criticism, because no one can tear me apart as well as I can, and if you are particularly snide, I can top it 100% and the damage to myself is too severe. My one reader asks questions in a way that is so engaging and invested that I am open to see where changes need to take place to make my story better and stronger. With all this information I should probably give up completely on being a published writer. One thing I do know is that I should give up on ever being rewarded with an income as a writer. I need to find something that I love that can help me to survive and allow me the time I need to write, but It isn’t going to be writing. So why bother to try and publish, if I don’t want acceptance, can’t take criticism , don’t write for a market, and don’t expect to get published? This may sound strange, maybe a little sad even, but it is the real truth behind my desire to share my writing. When I create a character, when I finish a story, I feel kind of lonely. Like I just made this thing, this being, and now it is going to die alone in some trunk or in between the torn pages in a journal, wasting away in some computer file. It makes me sad, having this little piece of me just invisible and alone. I guess I just want to touch someone and share a story that I believe is a small part of the human condition that we all have in common. It is a separate thing from who I am in my daily life. My person is surrounded by people, but my characters and my stories are only loved by me and my one reader, but this is kind of like being loved by your parents, of course they love you they created you. But, the stories… they want to go out and touch the world they want to leave home. In that context it makes sense why I am so protective, my stories are my children, they are all I have to offer to the world, they are my contribution.

It’s a little much, and overly sensitive, I am aware of this, but I have to accept myself for who I am as I am in order to play in this competitive and often cynical world. I think knowing or accepting that there may never be a monetary reward or accolades, makes the publishing processes a little easier, but at least my stories are going out into the world, and that is going to have to be enough for me.

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2 thoughts on “Preparing a new workshop while dealing with submission rejection

  1. This makes me sad too… well, the inventing a character/experience/life that no one may ever see… but also the feeling that maybe your writing is not destined to be a paying career. Perhaps it’s because I am about to embark on a full-time office job for the first time in my life… starting tomorrow!… but yeah. Just commiserating with a little sad from here, too.

    • Yeah. In a way I think we kind of make that decision, but it is hard to keep believing that writing will equal a career, especially when you have to keep working the paying jobs in order to make the rent. Who knows what is destined right? Good-luck in the office world.

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