Oh, the irony…
I accept submissions of poems from other writers at The Skeptic’s Kaddish, but, ironically, I have never submitted any of my own poems for publication. True, one of my poems was published in Masticadores India, but that was only because Terveen Gill, the editor, was kind enough to extend an invitation to me to send her a piece of mine.
Nearly three months ago, I concluded that I should submit some of my poetry to various poetry magazines, but I have yet to do so. Why?
1. I’m afraid of rejection
If I’m attempting to be honest, this is something that I should admit up front.
Publishing poetry on my own blog is risk-free, and I’m guaranteed to receive positive feedback from other poets on WordPress because of the community that we have here. I mean – take a look at the comments section of any poetry blog on WordPress… They’re all pretty much lovefests, right? And – even if somebody attempts to post a critical comment (which almost never happens), it will almost certainly be deleted or marked as spam by the blogger.
On the other hand, if I submit my poems to various publications, they can be, and some will be, rejected. Of course, I know full well that this comes with the territory, but that’s an awful feeling for somebody who invests so much of himself in his craft.
2. The “Not previously published” thing
In addition to taking pride in my writing, I also take pride in The Skeptic’s Kaddish itself, which includes a personal commitment to produce and publish quality content here on a regular basis. The thing is – it takes me a fair amount of time to write poems that I feel proud of… And I don’t want to decrease my rate of publishing blog posts.
Essentially, producing poems for publication would require additional hours beyond the time that I currently invest in writing, and that’s on top of work, family life, and sleep.
Also, I’m very much a “sharer” by nature – it’s very hard for me to produce a piece of creative writing that I’m proud of and not publish it. This is the main reason that I blog instead of journaling privately. I love the interactions that my writings generate.
It’s frustrating for me that producing poems for other publications would require me to keep them private until they’re published, and that’s under the assumption that they’re accepted for publication at all. It’s not as though one receives an immediate response to his submissions – these processes can take weeks and even months.
3. Ceding control of my works
There’s something profoundly uncomfortable for me about the notion of my poems being out of my hands. On this blog, where I post all of my creative writing, I can always go back and tweak any of my pieces on the spur of the moment.
In fact, quite often, after publishing a poem, I’ll reread it and feel newly dissatisfied with some part of it, which leads me to edit it after it’s gone “live”. To be full transparent, some of my poems have been edited multiple times after I first posted them… And, sometimes, I end up reversing the changes I’ve made in a fit of further dissatisfaction.
Look, I know that this perfectionism of mine is not healthy for me – it also gets in my way in other aspects of my life… But this is something that nags at me – I can very well imagine myself submitting a poem for inclusion in a publication and then wanting to edit it again afterwards… And what if it gets published, but I’m no longer pleased with it?
4. Fear of the unknown
I’ve never submitted any writings for publication, and I’m not at all an adventurous spirit. This is scary for me.
5. Not my strength
My strength is in writing; not networking; not figuring out which publications would be most appropriate for me to write for; not… well, not anything related to marketing myself or my craft.
In my fantasies, I somehow get magically discovered by a publisher who loves my writing, and I don’t have to deal with any of this business, other than producing the content.
Growing as a writer
Despite all of the above, I really should submit some poetry to various magazines…
At the end of the day, a successful writer is one whose works get read; and limiting myself to only publishing here at The Skeptic’s Kaddish is keeping me back. I know this well, but it doesn’t make this scary process any easier for me.