Friday, March 27, 2015
Why I keep writing.
As anyone who blogs will tell you - it's pretty freaking awesome to see your words shared by friends and family. It's extra freaking awesome to see your words shared by people you've never met.
And to see a post go viral? Unbelievable.
Many a writer has the mindset of - that will never ever happen to me.
I know I did. I kind of still do. And I mostly still do, I'll tell you more in a minute.
And I'm right in some ways. None of my personal posts here at Good Girl Gone Redneck have gone viral. And if you ask me if I'm dreaming of a day that my blog is a household name - sure - isn't everyone? If only just a little bit?
And I know, I am the first person to say that I write for me. Because I do. I write for me. But I write for you, too. If I didn't I'd be sticking with pen and paper and keeping my thoughts private. But I'm branching out. I don't know if you've noticed, but I am. In baby steps. And I'm going to tell you why.
Because I DO want to be heard. I want to be someone who contributes beyond my own space. It's probably not as thrilling as being the person who creates that amazing space, but it's pretty awesome anyway. To be seen. Heard.
This summer I sent my first submission in to Scary Mommy. And it was accepted. When I hit send on that email I thought I was going to be sick. I don't know what got me over that hump, but I sent it in anyway. And they liked it.
Cue thought process: THEY LIKE ME! THEY REALLY LIKE ME!
Scary Mommy is the epitome of places one would like to be featured. Seriously. The site is very well-known. What more could a writer want?
Well, of course, money. Getting paid for your work would be nice. It would always be nice. Scary Mommy actually recently announced they will be paying for original content moving forward. Very cool. However, many of us want to be seen and heard, and we're not thinking about the money when we submit something.
Despite what you've heard it doesn't take away from the efforts of other bloggers to get paid for the work they do. This isn't a sponsored post. The site hasn't ASKED you to submit for them. You've made a decision. You've shared your words with hopes of getting them out there. YOUR choice. You may not always get offered money for your work, and it's your call, amazing writer that you are, if whether or not seeing your words elsewhere is enough for you.
Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn't.
I submitted to Scary Mommy a few more times since that first post. One more was accepted. Many others have not been. It's okay. Rejection stings, but I'll survive.
And I'll keep going.
I recently submitted a post to a site that is sort of a dream for me.
It took time, but I got a reply and will be featured soon.
I did. Honestly. Cried.
Because for that acceptance - in the period of time I sent the email and got word? - I got 2-3 rejections. And again, those sting. They do. No matter how many times you get them. They can chip away at your armor. Chip. Chip. Chip.
A few years ago I tried out for Listen To Your Mother. I didn't make it. I understood. I did. But it stung. And I cried. A different kind of cry. A heart-felt sad cry. Unwanted. Rejected. And I've decided for myself that putting my words out there in that way - completely raw and in person - and getting that sort of rejection isn't worth it to me. It's a different kind of chip. It's not one I can bounce back from as easily, and so I protect myself and I avoid it.
I'm a huge fan of many of the women coordinating LTYM across the country, including the two in my own area. I didn't take it personally, I still like them, still call them friends, but I also knew that to hear another no from them would cause an ache I wasn't ready for the following year. Or the year after that. And so on.
And back to viral posts. Crazy when you see the same post shared and shared and shared across your Facebook feed, isn't it? It's that post when someone reminds a mom that they're doing their best or the one where there's a reminder not to judge because you don't know what the other person is going through. I love those posts. I SHARE those posts.
But *my* viral post wasn't one of those posts.
It was a post I wrote for SITS on books.
I'm an avid reader. I have more books in my home and on my Kindle than I know what to do with. It's a bad addiction, but a very good thing. Give me a Barnes and Noble coupon and I'm all in. No matter how many books are in my to-read piles or on shelves, or, who am I kidding, on an entire (almost) bookcase.
Anyway - that post blew up. It went everywhere. It resurfaced. Authors read it. It got hundreds of thousands of Facebook shares. I'm not kidding. Okay, sorry, I am kidding. I just went to check and it's been shared on Facebook 1069K times. What? *shakes head. rubs eyes* What?
I keep taking a screenshot because I just cannot believe it.
Can. NOT. Believe it.
But it's true. It's there in black and white. And color.
Me. My words. Gone pretty much everywhere.
Okay. Submit posts. Get accepted. Get rejected. Cry. Go viral. Don't. It's okay. You'll be okay.
That about covers it. Kind of - sort of. This is on its way to turning into the longest post in creation and if you got this far I thank you. I don't usually talk this much. On screen, anyway.
My point is this. If you want your words to be seen? Write them. Share them. Submit them.
Get out there and take the rejections. Sure, they'll hurt. Some more than others. Some might even make you cry. But it doesn't mean that someone else won't accept your words and before you know it you'll be taking screenshots, too, just to remind yourself that sometimes you're pretty amazing.
Which you really should know by now. Without that extra validation. And yet, we admit it, we writers? Sometimes we need that. And it's okay. We're allowed to need it and want it and crave it. As long as we remember that isn't the only reason we write. Because we do still, somewhere in there, almost all the time, have that need to write that's just for us.
It keeps us who we are.