“What’s your favorite flower?” A. asked me. We were sitting in a movie theater waiting for The Pick-Up Artist to begin. It was our first date.
“Daisies,” I said.
“But those are weeds,” he said. “Don’t you like roses?”
I’d only agreed to this date because a friend talked me into it. And it’d been 7 months since my one date with the assistant manager of the pizza place. “I like daisies–and they’re not weeds.”
After the movie, we walked back to campus. We had to cross a one way street. The road was clear and I stepped off the curb. He yanked me back. “Let me look,” he said. “Okay. It’s safe to cross.”
The next day I ran into him on my way to class. He was bringing me a rose, and I told him I really didn’t want to go out with him again. That was probably why I had no boyfriend. I got irritated about roses and crosswalks.
I say I want to be published, but am I paying attention to the right things? Telling the right stories and editing the right things and… well, I don’t want to do anything to published. Beyond the writing, what do you do to get your work out? What will you settle for–big publishing house, small press, print on demand, vanity press, zine, blog, or a box in the back of your closet?
Plenty of us say we want to be published, but what do we imagine that to mean?
6 thoughts on “Daisies, Streets, and Publications”
First of all, daisies are my favorite flowers (or one of my favorites), and the weed comment would have ended the date for me too. And the crosswalk thing – I never would have gone out with the guy again either. Please.
I would love to just get published by a reputable press. It can be small, but I want someone to look at my work and ask for it. A good literary journal would make me happy too. And I have spent time sending countless stories to magazines and queries to agents. It’s such a frustrating thing to do, especially when I read the bios of the writers in the back of the magazines, and there is rarely an unknown writer who is publishing his/her first story. They always have credentials, degrees, etc. And I suspect that agents mostly take on new clients who are referred to them or who they meet at conferences. I have gone to some conferences, but I can’t afford to go to many.
Lately I’ve been wondering if I really care that much about getting published or writing anymore. I know I’ll always try, but there comes a time when it starts to seem impossible, and I wonder if I’m kidding myself. Sorry to be so negative!! But it’s been on my mind lately.
What will you settle for?
A single letter or email, from one previously unknown reader of the published version of what is now just the WIP, saying (in not so many words) “OMFG.” (And saying it convincingly, I might add — like, not just reacting, but giving me reasons for the reaction.)
Er, of course I mean saying all that in a good way :).
Anybody who blogs frequently, and over a good length of time, without resorting 90% of the time to “look what I just read over at Site X” mini-posts, can (should) claim with some legitimacy to be a writer. But damn — I want to be an author, too.
For my poetry… I would be happy to be published, unpaid, in a reputable lit mag. I know poetry doesn’t pay.
For my novels… it’s different. I’m writing genre fiction and I expect to be published by a major genre publisher of the types that I used to read when I was a kid. (Did you catch the “expect” part?) I want a contract for my trilogy and I want to be a multiple trilogy kind of author. I want to be able to earn a living from that writing, and I want to be able to teach creative classes as an authority (aka published author).
I think it’s a realistic expectation, although I don’t know if I can get there or exactly the steps that it takes to get there.
That’s the answer to your comment on my blog about me having a direction. I do have one, although I am unsure if I am doing the right thing to get there. I THINK I am, and just have to go on faith that I am doing what I need to and not beat myself up when my normal doubts and fears arise.
Did you catch that part? About not beating myself up when normal doubts and fears arise?
Have faith that this is the journey, in its fits and stops and it is what it is.
We imagine the world! The big time. But we settle for how it is.
shelli, don’t give in to the dark side! You can do this.
Yes JES, saying it in a good way. I’ve read a few comments about my work that–without the sound of a voice and no gestures to go along with it–could be taken in different ways. Like wow that is great or wow that’s the worst thing I’ve ever read. Hard to know.
rowena, I caught that part and am trying to hold on to it too.
Karen, I can live with that. I think.
Getting published didn’t even cross my mind when I first started writing. Then over time, getting those comments..you know the ones, “I would buy your book if you wrote one. You should be published your that good…” started to eat away at my resolve. The next question was, “Am I that good?”, and how do you answer that without a swelled head. I know grammar wise, word hunting, I’m NOT as good as everyone else. Yet I can make my readers feel my words. Will I get published? who knows. For now it’s enough to get the feedback I’m getting from my journal.
In the event your ready with that elusive book, read up on writing query letters. Then after having written one, search for a reputable literary agent (An online search should provide those). Don’t despair if at first your turned down. What appeals to one agent, might not to several others. If this is something you truly want to do, the door is always open for the effort. It’s alot of work, but what is that for something you love? (Hugs)Indigo