Emerging from the Corner

The other day, I was looking at my submittable page. Currently, there are six submissions marked “in progress” and six just sitting there as “received.” There is another out there with a magazine that doesn’t use submittable.

There were a total of 14 submissions until I received a rejection last week, my first of the new year and while it stung like it always does, it does show progress.

I’ve been a hesitant submitter most of my writing life. Prior to a few years ago, I might have sent ten to 15 submissions in a year, which isn’t much. I’ve wrestled with a few things, commitment to craft, wanting to sleep, wanting to be there for my family, as women in this profession will do. I marvel at those who can juggle it, raise kids and get their work written, let alone out there. I couldn’t do it, not in fantastic amounts. I’ve come to terms with that. I’ve made small strides against impossible circumstances that I won’t get into right now, but I had to focus on those.

Now, while I don’t have expanses of time or energy, I have made room for commitment. I’ve been getting up early almost daily. I find that the quiet darkness of early morning is my sweet spot for creative productivity. My kids are grown and I’m still a mom, but I’m not doing the everyday hands-on mothering anymore.

More words are coming. The simple act of putting my butt in the chair is waking the once mostly comatose muse. This year is the year I embrace the literary life I’ve been in many ways making excuses not to embrace. I’m embracing it by writing, of course, but by also not being so hard on myself when the words feel hard on any given day, and they will. Still, on many days they feel like a gift because I see them that way now.

I’ve tried forcing things to happen in a certain way. I’ve been doing that with my entire existence and it’s exhausting, so now I’m just embracing what I love, words and images, and going from there.

Already, unexpected things have blossomed. The poems and words are returning and, as if the universe has acknowledged that, I walked into a small new bookshop near where I live and walked out with a new book on writing and a scheduled poetry reading. I’ve set up a local workshop for National Poetry Month that I’m looking forward to and I’m doing a bit of literary citizenship as a reader for Good River Review. Mostly, though, I’m writing, feeling less and less stuck each day, finally getting out of my own way.

As a symbolic gesture to celebrate by revived literary life, I’ve revamped my website, made it prettier and made it showcase the one little book I do have out there in the world, the one little “yes, I can” that has come out of my previous “stuffed in the corner of everything else literary life.”

So, hurray for the one rejection and for the outstanding submissions and for all the words I am eager to collect as my literary life emerges from its corner.  Also, hurray for this website that took a while to make sparkle, but I’m happy it’s sparkling now. Thanks for reading this far, and I hope you have a productive year of writing. Cheers.

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