October 25, 2016

Why Do We Write?

Freeimages.com/Stockers9
Why do you write?

I write to solidify the stories that surface in my mind. My brain, or maybe my heart, gives birth to ideas and I run with them to see where they are going. I've done this for as long as I remember, as early as the age of four if my Aunt Vivian is to be believed (I dictated stories to her to write down, she says).

The second part of my reason for writing is related to my four-year-old insistence to get my words in a tangible, written form--the desire to share my stories, to see them on the page.

My first published story appeared in my college literary journal. I wrote the story a few years earlier in Mrs. Seamon's creative writing class in high school. She told me, given good teachers, I could go somewhere with my writing. I never gave up, but writing took a back seat to marriage, children, divorce, and single motherhood for many years. (You can read all about those years in my other blog:  The Workbench of Faith.)

How do I pursue my writing?

As my children got older, I found more time to write, located and enrolled in writing classes, and joined writing groups. Yes, I remembered Mrs. Seamon's words and took them to heart and found guidance and instruction for my craft. Over the last ten years, I've had several short stories and essays published and won a few awards, but I never tire of hearing the words:  "We want to publish your story."

Last week, I heard those words again, and this morning received permission to share my news. The moonShine review has accepted my short story, "Just Me," and it will appear in their Fall/Winter 2016 issue.  This is my fourth appearance in this journal and I'm thrilled to be part of it, again.

What is the process to publication?

Stories abound on how authors get published. There isn't one specific path. Just like my first published story, I wrote "Just Me" several years ago. It's a quirky story, and I love it for that reason. I have submitted this story a few times before without success, and I'm glad it has found a home that suits its mood.

One of the key points writers need to understand is stories have a life, and editors choose stories based on how that life fits into their vision. A rejection does not mean it's not good; it just didn't fit the current need. I suspected "Just Me" might suit the tastes of moonShine's editors, Anne Kaylor and Beth Anne Cagle, but my original version was too long, close to 3500 words, so I trimmed it to just over 2500 words.

But I have to admit that without Mrs. Seamon's encouragement, and the interest expressed by many other writers and mentors over the years, I doubt I'd be sharing this information. Writing may be a solitary profession, but it still takes people to help the solitary writer create.

Who are your mentors? How have they helped you?

No comments: