On practice

Snippets of taking a phone call, feeling elated that at least some of the many hours spent trawling Craigslist for decent, paid (anything, really) writing gigs was paying off. Sitting on a brand new $300 sofa (my first new furniture, really), writing as much as possible, as many places as possible, till I collapsed.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece*, submitted it to a few places, and was roundly rejected. For a couple of days, I wallowed. It’s not as if I’d never been rejected before, no, but I’d never tried so hard and been rejected, so many times. I ended up sending the piece over to a friend, an editor of a magazine outside of my field; I figured a second (sixth?) opinion could at least give me some peace of mind (bad luck if they thought it was good, motivation if they thought it was bad). They wrote back quickly: The narrative was jumpy, but worst, the shot to the heart was: “I shrug my shoulders and say, who cares?”

And so I re-read it. And they were right.

And so I decided to re-write the piece and pitch it elsewhere, and here it is, published by the New Statesman (many thanks to Laurie Penny for the suggestion and intro!).

This whole post is starting to sound like a #humblebrag, but the truth is that this was a lesson for me. There was a period where these things came easy to me, because I was writing about things that no one else was (and possibly also because I was doing so as a young woman). And now that field has broadened, and there are incredible writers taking on these battles, a fact which I am so grateful for. But nevertheless, it means I need to work harder, and I need to always remember to practice. To write every day. To be mindful in my writing, and to take my time to get it right, rather than just get it out the door.

*I’m tempted to publish that draft on my blog for feedback. Should I?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.