Since my post on rejection slips, I've been thinking a lot about the submission process. Boy, it is hard putting ourselves out there every time we send out a query, a batch of poems, or a manuscript. It's the thankless, labor-intensive part of our work that has nothing to do with creation. Written with the best intentions--with our best skills and prettiest, bravest words; long and short lines; enjambments and slant rhymes--sometimes our poems cannot find a home.
That moment just after my poems enter the world is my favorite--anything is possible. But often they come back rejected. Sad little poems.
It's hard to stay optimistic about publishing. Most days, I feel the deck is stacked against us. I know so many good writers plugging away, honing their craft, reading their work before small, dedicated crowds, teaching their classes, working behind the scenes at a small press--many of whom will never get a manuscript published. There are just too many good writers out there competing for the same crumbs from the table.
Every time we make it to the page, we open a vein. Every. Single. Time. If you're not leaving a little of yourself on the page, then you're not doing it right. So today I want to sing the praises of those of us who risk a little of piece of ourselves each time we send out poems in the world. This work is hard. I liken it to going up for an audition. It's not just a job for us, it's our soul on the stage each time, with someone in the shadows deciding if we're good enough. Every time we put pen to paper we reveal some truth about ourselves and that's pretty damn scary. Submittble and email doesn't make it any less scary, just quicker.
So here's to us. We are the doers. We know poetry is worth the risk so we take it, time and time again, in hopes of finding a larger community. I say, keep your heads down and your spirits up. You are not alone.