Call to write

Doesn’t it feel good to write? I got sick, unmotivated, lost in the shuffle of my January days and stopped writing. Yesterday, I got up at 5:30, turned on the coffee pot and wrote for a good hour before the work routine.

Mom always told me to be happy you have to “eat right, sleep right and exercise.” I agree, only revising her mantra for me to “Eat: Write. Sleep: Write. Exercise. Write.” And listen to music as often as possible, of course. These are the elements that sustain me.

Not writing is like walking with no legs or, forgive me, being constipated. It makes you feel bad in body and emotion.

That is why, even though what we writers do is a solitary act, we need a writing community, or at least a handful of writer friends, to keep us accountable and to encourage us.

A friend of mine, Ally, often hosts “virtual writing events” on Facebook. It’s not a competition, rather it is a call to encourage us to pick up the pen or the iPad or to go sit at our desks and release. Even if what we write is crap, or we think it’s crap, it just feels damn good to write.

So, won’t you join me? From now until Sunday: write daily. Commit to a goal.

Here’s mine: I will edit at least three more chapters of the memoir and give life to two poems.

Tell me what you’re conjuring up.

Be well, be good to yourselves, and keep writing.

Rachael

The Great Big No

I’ve noticed how my two blogs will often coincide. I spoke on Unsung Throes about The Lemonheads and how their song “The Great Big No” helped me recently deal with another rejection of my work. Fortunately, all of my rejections thus far have been kind.

I once learned my lesson, however, with “asking what could have made it a yes” with an application to a graduate school that shall remain unnamed. The Dean of the school tore my credentials and writing samples apart. It was almost enough to reduce my writing psyche to nothing, but thankfully, I prevailed and was warmly welcomed to Wilkes University’s low-res Creative Writing program. There, they thought highly of my writing and the possibilities for my future as a professional writer.

That being said, this recent rejection wasn’t unkind but it came on a week where everything felt like it was falling apart: lack of sleep, disagreement with a friend, unnerving doubt about something, looming student loans, etc.

For a writer who has always been a writer, the last four times I have submitted work I’ve been told no. Each no was polite but, like any writer, caused me pouty, “Why doesn’t anyone like my writing?” moments.

Teach while you write is the resounding advice. I’ve seen these perfect teaching gigs and they all start with, “Must have a strong record of publications” or “must have at least one significant publication.” So how do I advance in my writing career if I don’t have any (nationally recognized) publications?

Well, for one, I keep writing. That is my advice to any struggling writer. It isn’t that you’re not good at what you do, necessarily. It is, perhaps, that the right audience hasn’t discovered you yet and vice versa. Keep looking for them. I have faith that mine is out there somewhere.

In the meantime, thanks for reading/listening/supporting me here. My blogging audience is small but loyal and I thank you all. You might be the push I need to make it in the writing world.

Be well, keep your chin up and keep writing.

Rachael

Enjoy? The Silence.

Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this on a sick day because everything is heightened even though it should be dulled. I opened my email to read the first lines from a place I submitted a poem to, recently. The opener said, “Dear Rachael, I’m so sorry not to have gotten back to you sooner…” and for some reason, I thought that would be followed with GOOD NEWS. Much to my chagrin: NO. It was not. It was yet another rejection of a poem I’d written. I know, don’t get down, keep submitting, and so on.

But let me just say for a moment, I started this blog to inspire writers and to give advice and get advice and maybe to give advice to myself. Sometimes, to ramble. Let me do that today, and thank you for listening.

Both of my blogs, this one, and “Unsung Throes” fall under my username: kindalikeapoet. I specifically chose this title a) because it comes from a Replacements song b) because said song is written for me, or so I’d like to think c) because I wrestle with my identity and abilities as a poet d) all of the above.

If you chose any of the above, or D, you’re correct. Pat yourself on the back. We here at Feeling Sorry For Ourselves Poet Corner applaud your effort and precision. We’ll be sure to publish your contributions in our comment box below.

Except for university publications, or my own, Word Fountain (see thelibrarywordfountain on wordpress), I have never had a piece, especially not a poem, professionally or nationally recognized. I write poetry and inspire (hopefully?) poets because I love words, poetry and music more than oxygen itself and, without any of those vices, I’d cease to exist.

Once, when I was ten, I wrote a terribly prophetic poem called The Meaning of it All and that was published by one of those “Wow, you’re a professionally published poet! Now celebrate your success by purchasing our gargantuan anthology for only $75!” But for the time being, I was exalted. My sixth grade teacher found out and announced, “We have a published poet among us!” holding my poem, which got an honorable mention at the school fair, high above her head.

I knew then that I was a writer, having a 402 page (in ink and notebook) novel done and scrolls of poetic ramblings from kitchen napkins to Mom’s credit card receipts to water bottles and sharpies. I was a poet. I was a writer. That was my destiny.

It still is. But I lost sight of it for a good long time. A long enough time that my self confidence was in the gutter and to even think that I could be a poet was unimaginable. Only I was, and I always have been. When I heard The Replacements’ “Achin’ to Be” whose lyrics express the inner struggle I feel with my own creative endeavors, there was no other name in which to call these online web blogs.

While getting my MFA from Wilkes University’s Creative Writing program, I learned that you turn rejection slips into poetry, both literally and figuratively. But small rejections like this, so early in my efforts to publish my poetry dishearten me. Those tiny nagging voices of doubt start whispering that my poetry does not belong among my peers.

But I am a writer and a poet. My annoyingly optimistic outlook does not offer another alternative. I’ll keep trekking along, I suppose.

In the meantime, enjoy this as a consolation prize for listening to me muse, whine and feel sorry for my rejection:

http://youtu.be/at4DL40FQ7Y

Be well, rock and write on,

Rachael

P.S. Is it any coincidence that my Eddie Vedder Pandora station just played “Light Today” which is about seeing the good in everything? I think not.