Sunday, February 21, 2010

Old Writing and Rejection Slips

Last week, I decided it was time to rearrange my home office and sort through old paper. I already knew secrets were hidden in the shadows of ragged manila folders- old writing, rejection slips, and a lot of stuff I did not really need. While I am not attracted to things, as in “toys” (except for books, I love my home library), I hold on to paper longer then necessary. I am not admitting to anything, but it's possible that I might be a survivor of some kind of phobia-- perhaps Papermania or RTD, also known as Recycled Tree Disorder.

Well, that day as pulled cracked yellowed paper from disheveled folders, my shredder hummed at full force. Out went the duplicate copies of short stories (I only need the latest version), old bank statements, because everything electronically archived now, and other random documents that held no purpose but to gather dust. By the time I was done, I was elated to have more space for rejection slips dating back to 1984, important tax documents and unfinished work I intended to revive.

While I was going through those old papers, I ran across the jewel of a lifetime: eight aged pages from a journal I had written when I was 22 years old and a college student at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California. I was a Police Science major, ready to go into the academy. I wanted to be a cop first, private investigator later. Due to a physical disability (bad eyesight), that dream never happened.

However, I also wrote about my one true dream of becoming a writer. At twelve, I started writing lyrics and poetry, and then moved on to short stories, and now my novel. I am not a big name in the writing world, but I have published poetry in small press, won first place in at least three writing contests, and have had four short stories published. I am proud of my accomplishments.

I also realize that I have not been holding myself to a high enough standard. I don’t submit my short stories to magazines often enough, and I have not been diligent in sitting down and writing every single day no matter what. I don’t study the markets enough. In other words, I have allowed myself to become complacent.

My goals are is to submit a story until it’s either sold or I have run out of markets to submit to, write every single day on one piece of substantive work (novel, short story), and make sure I study my markets well. The only way to be a writer is to sit down and write, and do the grunt work that goes with writing. Nobody else can do any of this for me.

Now, it’s time to get ready for my Redwood Writers Club meeting. When I return, I write. Happy writing to all!

To Go Oxford....or Not

Do you use the Oxford comma or do you omit it? Some grammar sages say to either keep it or omit it, unless omitting the Oxford comma will...