There’s a feeling that when I see magazines and journals still put out calls for submissions that it is business as usual, despite the last three years of mayhem. I don’t hear about magazines shutting up shop. But reality is that it is not business as usual as the last three years shows.
Writers actuate. They cause a character to act in a particular way which is the meaning of actuate. In real life, there are people who would like to actuate. They would like to have you act in a particular way. Sometimes, they succeed. Actuate is one of those action-orientated words that describes the way of the writer on a character and the way of a person on somebody else. These can fuse to produce a story that is realistic–the actual manipulation of a human being as a character in a story. These can make for disturbing unpleasant stories or ones where we can detach.
Looks like I am unable to post at Vocal after all. There are problems with my account, so can’t easily navigate between pages. Vocal seems to work for others, though. So, that’s the latest writing news from here.
My experience at Vocal has been good thus far though there are some teething problems which are being sorted but nothing major as in major. I found my first article, before I submitted to the editors, prompted me to write to a certain word count and I found this good as it enabled me to try a little harder, think a little harder, and improve the article overall. If they accept the piece, I will be submitting more, until there comes a point that I should stop writing there for some reason, but for now, all is good. Continue reading “New venture”
When it comes to writing, obstacles are overcome through sheer time and effort –
I spent a few spare hours of writing a couple of interesting posts (if I must say) on my new ventures with Medium and Substack, but my initial feeling was to not start out with it. To leave it be and not do it. The initial feeling was confirmed when the response to my posts and marketing of them were minimal. It’s not encouraging going ahead. Yet I forced myself to think harder about what other kinds of material I could produce so this material may come to fruition someplace else or closer to home base.
I was reluctant to headline this post the way it is, as it may sound too selfie. But poetry interests many people so it’s the poetry that counts here. Then I ask, how do I intersect with poetry? Continue reading “Poetry and me”
Had a flurry of writing over the Easter period and beyond for some devotions I was trying to get through and published. Those ones were safely rejected I think all of them, but I am not counting, so I have an idea there is one or two that are on their list to publish at some stage. Wait for the cheque in the post. The rejections when they come don’t hurt as much as they used to. I am not counting.
Quite a character, in fact — as every movie cop should be.
– Gordon Gow on the idiosyncratic features of movie cops, in the article “Cops: Private and Public” (Film Review 1973-74)
Reading poetry is what I’ve been doing more of recently as a writer of poetry must read it to see how published poetry is done. One poem I read reminded me that poets choose subjects and write a poem on that subject. Choosing subjects is what poets do, but it is not the only basis for a poem. It is one of the ways to write a poem.
This poet obviously choose ‘freedom of expression’ as her subject and wrote an effective, even convincing argument for it. I was compelled by the subject because it was well done and made the point effectively. It even made me think about freedom of expression and asked how many of us are really good at it. I mean some people just dominate the argument…As you can see poems have power.
He just wanted to write. He did not want to show off. But Mrs. Humstead wanted to show every one of importance his writing. Except no one wanted to read it. The writer observed rather than get upset. He knew being such a small timer not everyone was going to have the time to read his work. But he just wanted to write. He knew there were many competitors and more over those who would pillage his work for their own ends…He was wary of those but remained calm. What did it matter? Peace of mind reigned over him before action strikes. Another piece of writing.
Cultural shifts offer challenges for church
2004. Religious belief is not declining in New Zealand and other Western countries – the situation is increasingly described as a change from “religion” to “spirituality”, so is the consensus from sociologists, theologians, and academics from around the globe who say there is a resurgence of spirituality and belief in God outside of institutionalized Church.Continue reading “The church responds to cultural changes”
The English teacher warned the eagerly listening class about waffle. Let me add: you only waffle when you don’t write with conviction. Conviction is the key to eliminating waffle.
‘God chaser’ coming
2001. Revivalist Tommy Tenney, author of the best-selling The God Chasers, told O.A.C. Ministries evangelist Tim Findlay that he was open to come to New Zealand after his tour of Australia this year. Their relationship was born when the American itinerant minister spent time in Nelson last year, where approximately two thousand people attended his conference.Continue reading “Enthusiasm builds for conference”
I’ve been working on a book of reflections based on my readings of the Gospel of Mark. The gospel is from the Bible and I am aware of being accurate to the text and not saying something myself in my writings that was not intended by the writer of the gospel. But I am writing reflections and this genre is not explaining or expounding a text academically as one would when deeply examining what the author was saying. Reflections are simply hopefully effectively relaying my thoughts about what I read…meaning it is not a thesis on the text or a critique but a reflection on the text itself. I reflect from a devotional basis so it is not a reflective critique which has a soft edge.
I don’t know if one can do reflections from any kind of text, but I think copyright issues are the barrier to a writer taking any printed text and writing a book of reflections on it, although I don’t know. I know that there is a whole genre of devotional writing that uses the Bible but does not copy it. I know I am not doing anything wrong in using the Bible as a basis for a book of reflections, unless everyone who was writing devotions from the Bible has got it wrong. It is only wrong if copying the Bible exactly as it is for a profit, without permission; and copying it even without wanting to make a profit or commercial gain.
Copying 1000 Bible verses as they are written is okay with some Bible publishers, without seeking permission. It just depends on each Bible publication policy which is at the front of each Bible. Always check copyright notices at the front of each book you may want to copy in some way. There it will explain what one can legally do or not do with that particular book. And get a grasp of copyright law. Books are legally well protected from people trying to illegally copy them, but the copyright notice at the front of the book will inform of any leniencies, if any, and what you can do if you want to use a portion of the book in some capacity.
So far, my reflections have taken up one small exercise book, which I completed this week. For the rest of the week in terms of reflective writing, I just felt to blob, as if I have done enough for a little while in that genre or until I get my reflective writing mojo back.
I’ve been thinking. Of what use is a writer? When you reach a certain age, you look for a job or embark on a career and writing seems everywhere. When I look at this writing world, there are needs for newsletter writers, technical writers, and so on. A few will make money from creative writing and maybe even a living, be that screenwriting, novel writing and short short story writing, as well as poetry. Of what use is a writer? It seems what is missing now is the motive, the purpose, the over riding theme of why one wants to write. When I knew my reason for being it seemed to choose the genre. When the genre was “chosen” (or more likely drawn into), of what use is a writer when there are just a few publishing possibilities in that genre? What if one got in?
Writing is never over. Even the so-called “off-seasons” have a purpose, to enjoy and do well, and to lead one into the next stage. One does not always have to be successful, as each stage has a uniqueness of its own.
At least that is how I think of it, in my experience. Live, learn, and develop (no one has ever made it) and move on to the next phase, consciously aware of the moving on or not.
The writing life can be built on stages or phases. One is in one stage then moves on to the next. Maybe this is not every writer’s experience, but I would say it has an element of truth in mine.
Sometimes, I did not know what stage or phase I was in, as the writing life takes over. But other times, one does know the phase and aims to do it like one would do a job, before moving on…
The writing life is never over.
I didn’t consider every publication, but I would have liked to. I think I almost did. It felt like it at times. With all that leg work, or my fingers doing the walking as I combed those writer’s guides. But although some were lucrative, and I could have made an effort to ‘cater to the market’, many would not fit in with me.
I have had experience on my side, publishing credits, and an eye to improve for that next piece and the one after that and the one after that…until the writer reaches stuff to his or her eye. Then there are more things the writer may need to improve on. Later he starts thinking, I can relax. He’s done his best and whatever the publisher thinks, he’s always done his best. But, who really cares? Apparently, people do.
How can a writer let humanity flow in their stories? How does a writer share the human touch that the readers need? If people are not relating to you humanly, there may be something missing in the relationship for them. Therefore, the “human side” must naturally flow when one is only using words in writing. It is about being real and transparent. Being human is being real to the core (not having to show that all the time). Ideally, I am not pretending to be human for the sake of getting published (it won’t work and the editor will notice), but to be honest, while sharing those relatable human traits (liking coffee at 7AM) that make the reader relate while the emotional pull makes them empathize with somebody real.
In storytelling class, the lecturer may discuss the concept of compelling choice. For these lecturers, compelling choice is the pivot on which the plot turns in the classical story structure. The main character faces dilemmas at various points and has a choice between two or, even better, more choices of action, but the character chooses one way because the choice compels more than the other possibilities.
Real life is faced with such challenges as well at all sorts of levels. I wish that in real life we would always make the best choices, but in stories a character is a character with its own personality, beliefs and ways of doing things. It’s just that some choices compel the protagonist more than others. This is good material for the writer. The character can make authentic choices because one choice was more compelling that the other possibilities. In real life this can be as difficult as choosing the most unselfish course of action.
Wisecracker: So you read those Indian romance poems in English. They’re English romances, then.
Writer: It was a translation into English. Translation. Get it?
Humbled wisecracker: Pretty accurate, then. I mean, extremely accurate.
Writer: You got it. You better take a class, though.
Humbled wisecracker: Yes, I should.
Writer: On translation.
One idea can produce two ideas, but they both take a different slant, that’s the difference. For example, take this premise, as comedy for a Hollywood blockbuster that would get one star from the critics, depending on how well it was done, the potential to be a bomb.
A man spent ten years of his life around a lot of people and got so sick of them that he decided to isolate himself from people because he enjoyed the other half of his personality better and settles down with him, but his friend tries to get him back into socializing with people and to see the good side of humanity. In the end, he comes around to see the good side. That’s a silly comedy. But I can change the ending and the whole tone of the idea to sound like an arty drama. In the end the person stays away from people for the rest of his life and there is no seeing the good side. That’s a German drama. I would write neither.
Rejection can be a task master making you try harder, be different, fit in, conform, and do what will make you feel accepted. In writing, this may make the writer try to perform. But, acceptance is another story. If your story is accepted as is, for what it is, and published just as it is, then you are blessed. You don’t have to do anything different or more to be accepted by a publisher. But what happens if some kind of work of yours gets continually rejected? Maybe you don’t know why you are writing something and even if you did and got rejected it wouldn’t matter–because you know why you are doing it.
Personally, I have found the key is to find security in why I am writing something, then any amount of rejection won’t matter. It’s the harder path to come to realize why I want to write something, but the one which says, I don’t have to write in this another way, because I know why I am writing this. Who cares about rejection!
The question blogger writers get quite often is what are you working on? What are you doing? They can reply in the comments section or their own posts. Sometimes, the question is asked face-to-face.
Sometimes, a writer takes the bull by the horns and just writes, whatever the result, whatever the outcome. Like they gotta miss breakfast in the process. And it never got published.
They tell you to never look back. It just stifles the present. In writing, it makes one think of the negative points of one’s writing. I wish I had done it better one moans. However, I do not mind looking back at what I have written in the past if just for the curiosity of rediscovering how my older work sounded.
Keep on trying. See what happens. Then after a while I saw the future.
Track record of successes, and bragging rights, is, for me, not important; I do not bond with it or like. For me, it is about doing the job and let the others watch and make their own judgments. I would not care. If it succeeds in a big way, I am pleased, but let the work speak for itself. Writing is not about the glory and neither is life.
I always intend on doing a good if not great job, something that I can be proud of, or at least somewhat proud of by my standards. Something that comes out in the wash is not good enough for me, but something that is given a thorough treatment comes out better for ware. I don’t like to be so conscientious, as if conscientious is uncool, but I follow my instinct to add layers of polish. Isn’t this what writers are told to do?
Over a week, I wrote five devotions, which gave me a choice of which ones to submit to the editor. The first two I wrote were the right ones this time. I learnt once again , if that makes sense, that If I only have two devotions to choose from (two was the number I was assigned) I would question if those two were good enough to submit and could I have written another one better. So, having a few up my sleeve takes the pressure off. I can choose from four or five to get the sense of the best and work on the others later.
There are the usual habits of the writer, but for me one of the most important one is “waste not, want not”. Life can be a garbage can at times, in that things gets thrown around and thrown out. The ideal is not to waste anything. As a writer, this means to not waste a word, a paragraph, and idea, that may be of use somehow, somewhere. Of course, I fall short in executing this 100 per-cent, but the principle is something I want to abide by, from what’s in my room, to the cupboard, generally speaking. Waste not, want not also means that anything I buy is used economically, from food, to CD’s.
Writing foundations—the core values—and the silent voice they come through. At other times, the abstract nature of writing takes over everything else. It is a piece of artistic license drowning out any other concerns. Should I go back and edit, or let it be? That would be the question I ask, if my writing hand got away with me.
Sometimes, slight sense of irony in a sentence can add color to what would be a pedestrian line of writing and irony can brighten an otherwise flawed expression. It’s simply about the “art of writing” when one sketches art in a piece that seems flawed.
Art of writing may be fused throughout the whole, ordinary, unexceptional flawed piece, to give it an air of mystery and aloofness. It may be flawed prose in one sense, but how the piece is structured or designed gives an illusion of art through each line.
There’s always in the back of the mind of a writer of shorter material the time when he’ll be an author and gets the book contract. But does one really want to do that? The book signings, the author meet and greets, the interviews…the general busyness over your book? And does the writer really like reading books anyhow, the longer stuff that is? Can a writer be satisfied with the niche he already has and make the most of it, as much as possible? And not put all his eggs in the one writing basket?
The humble writer or artist and filmmaker for that matter, may shy away from publicity or at least attempt to. But, underneath, there may be a liking to the question, what will he do next? Will it be as good or better than the last thing they made? That’s when a writer and artist gets a little inkling they have made it. But what will be next? A widely received disappointment? After the artist has gained acceptance?
The writer and the artist are names that can be used interchangeably, in terms of function– the purpose is to create, using kinds of media and materials–and in style–to ‘stylize’ and place, for an effect, which can include journalism, in terms of how elements of art are embedded in journalism, such as flow.
Stories have a habit of mushrooming and expanding out, which one article can’t handle. The follow-up article continues the story. A follow-up article should follow on from the first story logically. But, sometimes, it’s a different story about the same group and people.
It’s always nice to be told you’re doing a good job, even when it could have better.
What I have learnt from reflecting on an article about a controversial issue, is to find the ‘cog that turns the wheel’ in the issue; to investigate the salient point. It will make for a weightier article and get to the bottom of the issue, which the readers deserve.
When an article is merely interesting. If its my article, I deny it. Because I believe, rightly or wrongly, that articles need to be more than interesting. But there are two types of interesting which sort of makes up for it. A stimulating interesting in that one is always engaged in the article, that while it doesn’t jump off the page or screen, is always stimulating. And a dull interesting, in that the way it’s done isn’t that imaginative, but is always readable.
For me, when it comes to reading a piece, the best effect is when I’m intrigued and stimulated by the writing. From beginning to end, the piece falls into place nicely and sits well. The reader, that’s me, senses the piece is drawing one in, rather than away. How would one do that, as a writer? I think one must make it always interesting, with facts, color and imagination, descriptive prose, and good ideas, producing “the effect” on the reader.
Have you ever had the feeling a piece of writing goes on and on, especially in the middle, when it seems the writer is searching for words to fill in space? Words with empty spaces. Hardly inventive and arousing. Less than simulating. Should be overcome with a dose of ‘color’ and factual information to spice things up.
in 1999, I wrote a short piece that was implicitly about truth but even I, the writer of that article, found myself caught between truth and experience. On one hand, truth is solid. On the other hand, experience is fluid, it flows. They can be in contradiction, but sometimes the two can intersect perfectly. This was not one of those times. My article stated a truth; but something in my nature was also going in the opposite direction as well. I went along with the truth, but had I ignored writing about experience at my peril? The editor encouraged me that the article was about a good truth. Yet I got the feeling that wasn’t enough in his eyes. Myself, I thought the article was great and even now I think it’s the best article I did for that magazine up until that time.
Sometimes, articles sign off with the big takeaway point — but if a reader will engage that point depends on how well it’s done. Unfortunately, some articles may require too much thought. Having to think about what an article is saying may be detrimental to the writer’s point they are trying to make. Clear, concise, lucid article writing is always good, one that shows commitment to the point the writer is making. Then, the reader just gets the sign off in one go, without any confusion and ambiguity.
An article can reveal the state of mind of the writer, if the reader can see through the writer’s lines. States of mind can change — overtime — and the writer may be embarrassed or pleased by what they were thinking in the past. Whatever it was, reflecting on that state of mind can help the writer face it afresh and see whether that philosophy still stands today. It’s an intriguing exercise.
Sometimes, a writer may get bored writing in the same genre. So, taking a break may do wonders for the writing and the outlook. One may turn their writing wares to another genre for a while and come back to the other one later.
I did this not knowing what good it would do me. I’d been film reviewing exclusively for four years but then turned to writing articles about film. I wrote and wrote and wrote article stuff about films that I look back on today and find hidden gems that give me insight into, funnily enough, film reviewing. When looking back on those articles, they encourage and reequip my reviewing. So when I do more reviewing these days, I’m more equipped, because I have reflected on the meanings of my old articles about film and how I can apply it.
I may have grown out of writing articles for one reason or another, but I hope my published articles inspired, encouraged or made someone think, in terms of what the article was saying to a specific reader, who might have been seeking an answer, or food for thought, on the topic I raised. Some people need answers to a topic – such as how does one go about complaining about a film? And why would one go deeper into analyzing a film? And so on. It just depends on who’s reading the article and if the article is a right fit for a specific person on the day, among the readers the writer is reaching, no matter the “page views”.
The headline, the opening paragraph, and the photos, all come together to set the tone for the article. The editors did this extremely well, although I wasn’t expecting it, nor did I intend it. But it did serve the readership and I am pleased how the article turned out. The whole article reflected one basic idea that was introduced in the headline, the photos, and the opening paragraph which would make the reader identify with one main idea. What a writer thinks should be emphasized isn’t always going to be fitting or appropriate for the readership so the editors can construct a frame for the article which fits. I am quite happy with this, although I intended another emphasis, but can still along with how it was done.
Some readers know implicitly what a writer is talking about and the writer does not need to explain a thing. I say this in light of an article I wrote, about how many Oscar nominations The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King got in 2004. I didn’t even have to explain what The Return of the King was and what it was about because the readers would already know. Although, on the off chance someone didn’t know, I thought I should have explained it, but in the end, didn’t. There was no problem with it as the editor published it anyway, probably knowing that the subject was so well known among the readership that it didn’t require anything more than a mention.
Ever thought an article of yours that was published sounded uneven? Like some parts could have been better, but other parts were good. But in the end it sort of comes out in the wash and the effect of the article actually says something well. That’s a bit of a strange working, if I may say so. That’s how writing can go, for one reason or another. The writer, on a reasonably off day, may not be 100 percent “on the ball” but gets it right in how it all jells together. Uncanny. Maybe the writer was so enthusiastic in writing the article, and side stepped thinking it through, as it appeared to sound okay as is. With the published article, the blemishes showed through a little (at least according to the writer), yet the article still works (according to the writer, again)!
An editor of mine, a while ago, had the good sense to ‘broaden’ or ‘widen’ my paragraphs. In my submitted piece, I sometimes stopped a paragraph quite short, but the editor widened the paragraph out, to add to that paragraph the next one after it, so it became one paragraph. In the end, it worked.
There’s nothing like a good paragraph to start an article, but what if your own paragraph (this one I’m writing excluded) sounded gratingly off-putting? That’s how I felt about a 2001 article of mine. Now, I don’t necessarily agree with what was said in that first paragraph, but back then I probably found it interesting. However, the middle of the article made me think. It actually made good sense, and if one applied this wisdom, it would do some good. I wish I had applied it earlier. Even so, one knows what one knows at the time. That’s life. But just maybe I will write the sequel….
It’s great to read an old article of mine. What somebody said in it are quite simply words of wisdom and even encourage me today. I think that anyone who enjoys reading, will find that the stories and articles that they look back on, can still resonate, years later. It’s like those pleasant surprises one finds in the attic and the basement; a long lost card or report that surprises one and causes a most pleasant feeling to come over you.
A brief guide on how to make a positive impression with an editor for any writer like me who’s been learning as they go along. I’ve found that one way to make a good impression with an editor, is to write the piece good enough that it doesn’t look like it needs editing. That’s one way to whet the editor’s appetite, as well as making the piece appealing, interesting and ticks the boxes of the writer’s guidelines.
Why would an editor not edit a piece that is going to be published? The answer may be simple. The piece is good enough and so good enough that editing it would waste their precious time when they could be doing other things. Why spend time on what doesn’t need fixing, when they are other, perhaps more pressing things to do that need the editor’s time and effort? When it’s a weekly newspaper or such like, time is a precious commodity.
There comes a time when I must decide on what devotions I am going to submit. The pain of it all. Agonizing. But somehow exciting. I honestly struggled and labored with the idea of what ones to send. It was a to-and-fro, back-and-forth decision, until I revised and revised again. In the end, I had five devotions to choose from, but picked a certain three because they fitted better. But with more revision of the other two, they are looking good for another assignment somewhere down the track.
There was a period where I again read, but critiqued, my own work, because I thought it wasn’t as readable as it should have been. But in a clearer frame of mind, I looked back at those articles, and saw the “big picture”, which changed my view of my older work. It was readable and sounded good when I saw the whole. This was encouraging as my previous view was negative, now turned positive. Seeing the context or big picture change my view of a work or piece.
It’s good even great to get editors to accept your work and publish it even when some things were edited out because they were “inappropriate”. The editor must make a judgement call and cut the inappropriate stuff out. This is done so the readers are served. Most of the article is suitable, but some additional things in the article may not be serving the readers, so are slashed out of the article. The edited parts seemed innocuous, but then I’m not the reader and the editor has an obligation that their readers are served.
This post is about when someone gives their opinion of your article: good, boring, needs improving or is too long. Naturally, I like it when someone says my article is good, but am unsure how to respond when someone tells me her husband thinks my article is “boring”. Getting that remark happened only once and I didn’t hear it through the horse’s mouth as it was, so how was I to know it wasn’t the wife telling me indirectly that she thought my article was boring?
It’s nice to have read through an article I got published and find the editor did nothing significant at all–in terms of editing it. It just didn’t need a polish this time round. This is a compliment from the editor to the writer. “We like your work so much that we don’t want to touch it–so will publish it as it is.”
It’s so easy for the details to slip through the cracks if one isn’t paying full, conscious attention. Years back, I did an article about pastor’s views on an issue of the day (and still is). One pastor complained that he didn’t get the photo of himself back. Each pastor who was interviewed had a photo by their opinion, and one said he hadn’t got his photo back. The photos were provided by the interviewee and sent to the publisher who should have sent them back. Alas, one slipped through the cracks, apparently, even though I huffed and puffed about sending it back. Apparently, the publisher no longer had it. Lost. These are the painful, unfortunate incidents that when on the receiving end are difficult to swallow. It’s like losing a book someone borrowed from you. Then, it’s gone. The pastor, however, was understanding, although it would have been much better for everyone that this one didn’t fall through the cracks. Sending the photo back is evidence one is paying thoughtful attention to the needs of their interviewees, which is very important.
There are different ways readers can respond, or react for that matter, to articles. Anger is one reaction; the article is so stirring that one is thrown into a negative emotional reaction. Articles that deal with issues that polarize can always get a rise from some people. These can be basically useless articles if anger is the main response. However, for the unconverted on some issue, these kinds of articles are ‘dangerous’ in that they have the power to persuade.
Factual articles outlining the issues and going in depth are better, as they help someone find where they stand on an issue, rather than persuade or coerce.
There are also articles that make one think, but these tend to make one think for a moment, and then, that’s that. No further action and thinking required–but, what if, in that moment of thought, a writer drew someone towards a conclusion? This is when articles that make one think are useful or put someone on the wrong track. In the end, they can have the power to persuade. The best articles they say are those that inspire someone, be that personally, or to action. Then, one may ask: inspire to what? Writers can be ‘dangerous’ people.
We need writers who are not afraid to ask the hard questions as this brings balance to the status quo of everything is all right, jack. Hard questions will make one think and contemplate what may be or is actually happening but is rarely or never breached, rather than the idea that everything is going along honky dory on some issue.
Some articles I wrote in the past, I used to send off to the editor in a bit of a rush, but these days I know an article (in this case, a devotion) isn’t finished when it seems to be. These days, I will wait another day to see the article with a fresh pair of eyes and see if anything more needs editing. This process may take weeks until I know that on one reading it sounds just right.
A few years ago I got a call saying they wanted a clarification on something I wrote. Of course, one could take this personally–thoughts going through your head, ‘I got it wrong’, ‘I did bad’ etc. But it reminded me to be sure of the details in seemingly clear-cut places.
In retrospect, certain embarrassing turns of phrase and articulations in a column I wrote were going to make my column sound off-color. But a good editor saved me from such embarrassments. Having wrote the article, I sent it off to the editor, this was back in 2002. Sometimes, I may write a sentence or paragraph that I don’t double check for how it sounds. Looking back at the version I submitted, most of the article sounded fine — apart from a couple of things that would have spoiled the entire tone of the article. Just imagine it got published exactly as submitted. Such was my thought as I looked back at my submission. But an editor looked over my submission. And the editor who is doing a great job can save an article by making a few necessary adjustments. And save the writer from embarrassing moments that would have spoiled the tone of the article and make the writer look a little embarrassed. Consistency can be important to an article, or at least a sense of it. But a few off-kilter moments can spoil the broth. But the day the editor saved me from such moments is a day I had a great editor.
I wrote a piece that might have been a risk; would I jeopardize my column? Not that it seemed to matter in the moment, because I wrote it. But with a sneaking suspicion in the back of my mind, what would happen? And months later, something happened. The column came to an end.
I reacted inside myself, but years later, I looked over the columns, and reflected somewhat on them. And if a risky article was the reason for the termination of the column, I realized why I wrote a risky article in the first place, putting it down to this and that. I looked at the wider picture and found more insight. Ideally, I should have thought before I acted. This, I would say now, is a rule of thumb. Think before sending anything. Very important.
I hadn’t touched some articles for a few months, but time adds a little more perspective, and one can see clearly. Apart from a few which I will use, the majority will be binned or recycled for another publisher if I can find one. I always remember some wise words when I realize some work I do is, I think, usable, and the rest isn’t usable. That’s “Only some work writers do is actually any good”. But even those inferior pieces can be recycled into other pieces.
Image Journal, as well as proving helpful descriptions about the submission process (see previous post), also provided helpful descriptions of one’s relationship to faith in their submission guidelines.
All the work we publish reflects what we see as a sustained engagement with one of the western faiths—Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. That engagement can include unease, grappling, or ambivalence as well as orthodoxy…
Let me say first that they are an arts journal in which faith is involved in that. What they’re saying is an engagement with faith that is uneasy, or grappling, ambivalent, or orthodox. I find their distinctions helpful and true. One can be uneasy about faith, grapple with faith, be ambivalent, or be orthodox. And one can approach art from those perspectives. These distinctions opens one up to the question of where one stands. Which way? Is one uneasy about faith? Grapples with faith? Is ambivalent? or is orthodox? I think Image Journal don’t try to convert people to one way or another, but I think they are a journal and forum for discussion, thought and illumination about the arts and faith, although I’m not directly quoting their about page.
Editors are there to present your work, but I wasn’t expecting life lessons as well. However, I’ve finally grasped what they were on about. And it’s all true. There were two lessons, both points resonating now.
Writing while doing other things in life as you would normally do can be hectic. Keeping up to date with the stuff a writer does–that is, the writing–sometimes near impossible. If one is going well and the good days outnumber the bad ones, then keeping up to date is a reality. Getting through the writing agenda is not impossible. It is simply writing the ideas up that get turned into short meditations or devotions or what’s also knows as reflections. Short and sweet.
Writing my own stories may be best left with a free online platform like WordPress, because I wonder if the traditional publishers will ever take my own stories on board? Of course, traditional publishers do take stories, but they tend to be the ones that suit the publisher, not any old story, not the ones that I may want to write. My own stories may have to be written a certain way before they are even considered by traditional publishers. I can’t be myself or else face a rejection because it wasn’t written the way the publisher wants it written.
On last count, a few minutes ago, one-third of my shelved devotions that I have looked at again have been recoverable. The key to recovering them is to focus them on one point. It eliminates waffle.
Rejection seldom takes a writer well, but taking it on the chin can be enlightening. Personally, I would like to see all of my articles etc. published. But this is unrealistic. One, my article may be inappropriate for the readers although on its own merits stands. Two, not everything of mine should be published. Why? Simply because some of my pieces may be better than the others. So, when something is rejected, it’s not as good as the other pieces.
Bad days are gone, grey days instead. In the grey days it’s not so bad. The day may be grey. A rejection letter that sounded like a gentle let down. A letter from the editor that while the piece hasn’t been accepted, it’s on the short list. Tiny bits of encouragement woven in. With that little bit of encouragement, one is encouraged to do more.