On Rejection

The literary journal I founded and edit will be having its 3rd birthday very soon.  (Yes, birthday. Not anniversary.)

I cannot tell you how much that thrills me and yet it’s crazy to think that it’s been 3 years already.  It’s been a wonderful experience and I have been incredibly honored to read and feature some amazing work by some even more amazing women. 

But I’ve also had to reject a lot of work by women.  (And yes, men too… The ones who didn’t read the guidelines that say we feature women’s poetry and flash fiction and art. Come on fellas.)

Most of the time I don’t receive any responses to the rejection emails we send.  Sometimes, I receive a pleasant response that thanks us for reading and considering their work.  And every once in a while I get a very… how should I say it… difficult response.  Let’s just say there has been curse words and threats involved.  

On one level, I do understand their anger and frustration. But all writers have been rejected. It is a rite of passage but it is also the universe’s way of saying to you “that place is not the right home for what you created.”

And that’s what I’ve always tried to explain to Dying Dahlia readers and submitters, especially to the people who want an answer to why they were rejected.

It’s not that what they wrote was “bad.”  I don’t think I’m in a position to decide whether something is inherently good or bad.  The position I am in is to decide whether or not a poem, a story or a photo or piece of artwork is going to find a home with Dying Dahlia  and whether or not it fits with what the site is trying to showcase.

That’s what we, all editors, do. We may not personally like a story or poem, but that’s really not the point.  There is someone else out there who will.  There is someone out there that should be the keeper of your creation.  And sometimes that person is me. But most of the time it’s not.

Dying Dahlia gets a lot of submissions, but certainly nowhere near how many submissions other journals that have been around longer are getting.   And no matter how many times I’ve done it, I still don’t like to reject anyone’s work. I don’t like to tell anyone that their hard work isn’t going to find a home here. 

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So getting back to rejection… It’s gonna happen. It’s gonna sting. I am rejected still to this day. And that’s okay. But giving up, throwing in the towel, not writing, not submitting, is not okay. 

There is a home for every poem, every story, every book. The two novels I wrote a few years ago probably will never be read by anyone other than the two people who read the final draft when I finished each of them several years ago.  Those novels will stay on my computer (or the cloud) until the end of time. And that’s okay. 

Those novels mean the world to me. They are my babies. I wanted to write a novel. I did. I wrote two. While they were never published, and probably never will be, they hold a special place in my heart. I know and love those characters and those worlds I created.  And I was rejected for each one.  And when I stopped submitting I was okay because I realized their home was with me.  

Just because poems and stories and novels don’t get published doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have been written.  Some of the best work by writers is probably still hiding in their rooms, on their computers, on their bookshelves, wherever. 

So when you send your work to journals and reviews, I understand how vulnerable that can feel. But something prompted you to share that with another person.  Something inside pushed you to submit that poem or that story to be published for people to read.  And if you have that urge to share, do it. And don’t stop.

And if you do stop, feel content knowing that just because it wasn’t published, doesn’t mean it didn’t need to be written. It needed to be written. You needed to write it. Even if it is for no one else but you.  

 

On Blogging

The idea of blogging has always fascinated me.  On one hand, I ‘d like to believe it’s something I could do rather well, but when it comes to execution, I abandon ship and move on to the next type of writing that is more comfortable, more natural to me.  Usually something creative or let’s be honest— something that makes more money. 

I have set up many blogs throughout the years.  None of them lasted more than 6 months.

One of the blogs that I created that lasted a smidge longer than any of the others was called the Cant Stay At Home Mom Blog where I talked about my adventures with my daughter when she was a baby.  I was, in fact, a stay at home mom during her first few years of life and could not just stay at home with her.  I took her everywhere. Libraries, hikes, parks, bookstores, play areas at malls… wherever it was kid friendly, I went to those places plus some.  She was (and still is) my partner in crime who is always up for an adventure. But I stopped writing the blog.  She got older and started preschool. I got a job. You know… life happened.

Other unsuccessful blogs have been about running, weight loss, writing, etc.  My tastes, my interests, my passions are so varied, it’s hard to commit to a single topic and write about it on a consistent basis.  I lack that sort of motivation or passion as a writer to write solely about one topic and would much rather bounce from topic to topic, project to project.

I’ve spoken about this at length with other fellow creative types, albeit some are artists or musicians, not writers, but the same idea applies. One person in particular, an artist, has told me she bounces from project to project, taking so long to complete anything, plenty of projects lounging here and there just waiting to be finished.  Yup. Been there, done (doing) that.

So what has brought me to blogging yet again? The first thought about trying to blog again came when I became a .com.  I purchased AbbieCopeland.com fairly recently for the simple fact that I felt justified to be an official .com now that I’m publishing my first book through Finishing Line Press next year. 

It was a painful experience actually… buying the .com that is.  Even though I had been tossing around the idea for some time, I am quite terrible at promoting myself in any way and having a website all about me felt… well, really weird.

I like promoting other things, other people, other people’s work… But once I received my we-want-to-publish-your-book letter I knew it was time to put the big girl pants on and learn how to sell myself. (*Insert ironic sexy music here*)

But what is a .com without a blog? A rather boring website about a person you may or may not know.  So here I am. Before the start of a new year, making a blog. Again.

(I certainly didn’t want to start on January 1st or soon thereafter because *groan* so cliché. And this isn’t a New Year’s Resolution or something. It’s just me, putting the big girl pants on and writing to the world – Hello World.)

I’m sure there are some friends that will read this (Hi friends!) maybe some family (Hi family!) or even some stalkers (Um. Yea, hi?)  but for anyone else reading that I do not know personally, to you I say— Hello. Welcome friend.  I don’t know you, but because you are here reading this, we are friends.

When it comes to writing, blogging, poetry, whatever, I am truly thankful when anyone reads the words I have strung together.  I am honored when my words have touched someone, even just a little.  Truly, it’s the only reason I ever wanted to publish a book, a poem or anything really– to share my words and hope that it touches just one person and makes them feel a little less alone. 

I will stumble and be bashful when it comes to self-promoting. I may go weeks without writing a word on this blog, but I will try. That’s all any of us can do.

So without further ado, welcome to my blog. I’ll write about whatever, most likely sticking to the “On —-” format. Each blog will be on a different topic of the moment.  Like this one. On Blogging. Get it? Of course you do. 

My passions are varied so I don’t doubt that my topics will be too.  But it will always be honest and from the heart. And I do hope you enjoy at least a little if not a lot of it.  And if not… well then, there are only 5 trillion blogs out there. I’m sure you’ll find one you like.

One thing I would be infinitely grateful for is if you interacted with me. Leave some kind words, send me an email, connect on social media, tell me your thoughts, dreams, and wishes…  I want to read your words and hear your voice.

And of course, thanks for reading.

Much love,

Abbie