With some trepidation, I am starting the submission process again. No, not for the NaNovel [see that wordcount widget hanging on the left? I must confess it is still about the same]. Actually, I have a healthy supply of writings which are in various stages of revision. Some pieces have not ever been read by another pair of eyes. I have definitely not kept up with that part of the game this year, which is certainly one of my Writeresolutions for Aught-Nine. I am making a submission schedule and plan on using a tracking program which should work better than the notebook in which I keep scribbling quick notes and addresses.

I actually have a lot of writing resolutions to work on, some of which I listed way back in January. I do not feel that I completely failed to do what I resolved to do, although some people may think so. I am writing regularly, and though I do not have an income from writing yet, I do have a lot more experience and knowledge about the wonderful world of writing [not to mention the mysterious realm of publishing]. Best of all I am coming out of my writer’s shell and actually talking about it with people- admitting I am a writer is the first step on the writer’s path, right? This is rather huge for me, because although I have always written and have had writing in my life since I could hold a crayon, I have struggled with my own view of myself as a writer. It was so easy when I did not think about what or why I wanted to write. Now, I self-edit myself often before the words ever see paper. This may explain why I wept when I read this beautiful passage from hownottowrite:

As I’ve grown older, I’ve trained myself to spend too much time thinking about the words and where they come from. The question of origin nags me like the sound of a sleeping child who coughs in a unfamiliar way. I try to tell myself that everything is alright, but I can’t help sneaking a peek. I creep slowly down the hall, trying my best to be silent. Yet, even with a lifetime’s practice, each board seems loose under my feet. The doorknob turns, gnashing like the gears of an enormous clock.

I highly recommend you read that whole post. Much like this author, I was the child up at night reading and writing by the borrowed light from the closet or hallway. When my father cut them off, telling me to get to sleep, I created stories in my mind to put myself to sleep. Some of those stories are still there, now coming out to finally see the light of day.

When I was young, I wrote mostly as an assignment and did not really understand the praise that accompanied the grades. As I grew and my self-esteem plummeted in adolescence, I wrote in secret, turning to my journal more than any other confidante. When that private space was invaded it was hard to recover the confidence to write for others. I started to fear the criticism and even the positive responses to my writing. I would write, but my words were for my eyes only. Always a bookworm, I preferred to read what I never could imitate and convinced myself that I could never be good enough and there was already enough crap out there to which I did not want to contribute. I have to admit to still believing that, but I cannot deny that I want to be a writer.

I used to say “I can write; I have the ability to write; I do write.” rather than “I am a writer.” Generally this was in response to the question, “Oh, are you a writer?” when folks-who-know-me mentioned it to others or asked me directly, “Are you still writing? What are you writing now?” I played it off as a hobby more than a part of my entire self. I still do not talk about it with everyone, but I am at least able to say it to myself. Much of the confidence I have gained recently is due to this blog, and my connections I have found online and with other writers. I officially count that blessing. I think it helps to know that I am not the only one who struggles with similar feelings and dilemmas. It is also good to know that I can write without being rejected. I may not get a thousand hits here, but my words [and often my feelings] are out there for anyone to see, and I have lost nothing, I survived.

So, maybe I lost a lot of years of my writing career because I held myself back, and spent “too much time thinking about the words and where they come from” but I am here now and I am no longer looking back at the rejections and violations and drunken “poetry” written in my angsty years. It is time to revise and revisit, but only so I can remember how far I have come as I continue the journey. As one of my favorite quotes says “You are not an official writer until you’ve gotten a rejection.” Well, I have gotten that far, and I must keep going. I must submit myself to the process and commit to writing or I will never be accepted as a writer, if only by myself.

{When I began this post, a few days ago, I was in a different frame of mind [still weeping over hownottowrite]. Then I was interrupted by my chaotic life and saved the draft. In the weird way the universe works, the next day I received in the mail a copy of Alice W. Flaherty’s The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain. It was a gift from myself because I had wish-listed it on PaperbackSwap and completely forgotten about it until it arrived. I will share more with you when I finish it.}