I try to make sure [my students] understand that writing, and even getting good at it, and having books and stories and articles published, will not open the doors that most of them hope for. It will not make them well. It will not give them the feeling that the world has finally validated their parking tickets, that they have in fact finally arrived.
My enthusiasm is about to reveal to you how green I am as a writer, and I’ll probably look back on this in a few months or years and groan in embarrassment. But for today – Holy Crap, y’all, I am now published! And the funny thing? I feel exactly like the world has validated my parking tickets. That I have in fact finally arrived.
Arrived at what, I’m not sure, but I am there, baby.
I’ve never submitted anything for publication before. I hear that if you want to write for real, you need to go ahead and grow a thick skin. Prepare to wallpaper your walls with rejection letters. Prepare to be told over and over again that you suck. Personally, I’m not really into that. I like gold stars and A pluses and for people to tell me how awesome I am, so I’ll just avoid the rejections and the character assassination and I will self-publish here on my blog, thank you.
But my friend, the one who rescued my About page, wouldn’t give it up. “Andrea, I really think you should submit something to this journal.” Six months later, “Andrea, have you submitted anything yet? Andrea, really. Just write something and send it in.”
So I did. My “Writer’s Block” essay, a piece about my Southern childhood, a piece born of deadline paralysis, was accepted and is on page 20 of the current issue of Southern Women’s Review (Volume 6). You can read it for both the paralyzing process and the product that emerged from it if you’re interested.
P.S. I really do know where I have arrived. I have arrived at myself as a writer. Working on this piece and submitting it has helped me recognize my love for writing, for both the process and the product. With its success, and my love for the craft, I think I finally know what this butterfly mind is made for.
P.P.S. I realize that I just ended a sentence with a preposition, and the irony of that error when writing about being a writer. I’m okay with that, but my friend probably isn’t.
Download the new issue, Volume 6, at southernwomensreview.com.