So I have been submitting my writing samples to different publications. I decided what the hell, I will submit this blog to a few to see what I get. Here was the first response. I am not sure that I agree 100% because what this editor does not know about me at this point is that I do write here and there and do get the occasional byline.
And this isn’t just some random journal.
But I do appreciate the time they took to write to me.
The funny thing is they interpolate a lot of my writing as angry and I overall I am not angry, but I am frustrated by the ups and downs of dealing with breast cancer in everyday life. And it’s not so simplistic an issue that it should just be pared down to commentary on healthcare in this area, because it is more complex than that. But maybe this editor even though a woman doesn’t get where I am coming from because she has never experienced the emotional tsunami that is breast cancer. Because face it, I didn’t get it until I was in it.
And I will keep at it, because I do know I can write and I have something to offer. And as for mentors – I actually do have professional writers who are mentors and they tell me (among other things) to write what I know. This is currently what I know. So I will hone this craft, but I will be true to myself at the same time. I have to be. What I have to say is of no use to others if I do not.
Here is the feedback:
I am going to give you an honest response to the question that you seem to be asking yourself a lot, why no one is paying you to write.
Keeping a journal is much different than writing for a broader audience. I think you keep a good journal, but it seems more like the kind of thing I would read if I were your friend, or if I were undergoing the same sort of mind-bending, life-upheaving, unimaginable health crisis that you’ve been through. After reading 10 or so entries, I don’t feel as though I know you, personally. I feel as though you are justifiably angry about many things. I feel as though you are probably a brave person and probably doing your damndest to sort out what you’ve been through, emotionally. I feel that you could write a compelling and searing indictment of health care in this area, if you organized your thoughts.
But as a reader, I don’t know what it is you are trying to say, and that is what makes the content difficult to apply to a diverse readership. I think that you will get the attention and possibly financial rewards you are looking for, when you arrive at that.
As an editor, I can tell you that most editors are working under the same downsized, stressful conditions as everyone else, and do not have the time to hunt through a blog in search of something they can use. It’s like any other application process. Take a few of your best entries, polish them up to column length, and start submitting them, to newspapers, magazines, whatever. Do some research on the submission process, which varies from organization to organization. (For ex., some require queries, whereas some just want the full article submitted for possible acceptance/rejection). If that gets you nowhere, then you need to go back to your writing, and find a mentor who can give you honest, but constructive feedback. There is no one writing for even our small publications now, who has not gone through this process.
I wish you continued health and much success.
There’s a book called “Writers’ Market”, I think (and “Songwriters’ Market”) if you haven’t heard or seen them.
It lists the submission requirements, addresses, A&R contacts, etc., for hundreds of publishers.
Steven King holds some kind of record I think.
It may have been “Christine”, his first published work, that was rejected something like 52 times.
52 poor bastards jumping out windows now…