Perseverance. Persistence. It seems like every writing blog or magazine article I’ve read this month has mentioned that writers need these characteristics. I don’t know that I have much of either right now. I feel as if my 2016 has had a rocky start.
I’m back at university this semester for a poetry workshop. There are days when I believe I’m in way over my head. I’m taking the class to strengthen my writing, to learn how to create metaphors and to use precise language. I enjoy the required reading because I am broadening my knowledge of contemporary poetry. We learn from seeing how others have mastered the craft.
But there are days when I think I made the wrong choice. I read my classmates’ poems and think, how will I ever write like that? I listen to the professor’s comments and realize that I may not write the kind of poetry he values. I didn’t take this class to become a professional poet but I would like to write decent poetry.
I’m kicking myself because the poem I’ve turned in for workshop is not one of my better efforts. Of course when I wrote it, I thought it wasn’t half-bad (perhaps even half-good). But now I want to tear it up before the workshop critique. Of course, I can’t do that so I keep telling myself, it’s just a first draft.
My bad mood is partly due to the two rejection letters that arrived in my in-box today within hours of each other. Normally, I’m okay with rejections because they arrive singly, days or weeks or months apart–but two in the same afternoon seems like a bad joke. Intellectually, I know that it’s not personal, that journals receive hundreds of submissions, that I need to move on to the next submission. Still, sometimes I wonder if it’s worth the effort.
All those blogs and articles have a message for me: be persistent and persevere. Keep writing. It’s never as bad as you think.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to send out some more submissions.