Writing Out

Lately, I’ve felt a bit like all my writing energy has been inverted, that I’ve become an extrovert writer rather than the innie writer that feels more true-to-form. I’m not working on long, reflective projects, not turning inward to somehow drag forth piles of words a day. Instead, I’m preparing a class syllabus, submitting cover letters and samples, leading a writing club, and compiling a book of essays by young adult Catholics.

I think of all of this as “writing out,” which really isn’t so different from “acting out.” Like a petulant child’s vexing habits, writing out is not so much about the act of writing itself, but about getting noticed for that writing. And although it may not feel that way when the rejection comes in the mail, I tell myself that “negative attention” is still better than “no attention.” I keep a binder of rejection and acceptance letters because, on my more optimistic days, I believe that rejections are proof of progress because at least you’ve put something out there.

Yesterday, I saw a letter in my mailbox that had my own handwriting on the envelope. This is never a good sign for a writer. Those SASE only have enough postage on them for a rejection; if a publisher has accepted your piece, they’ll pay for their own postage. It was a rejection for the Delacorte Press contest, which came two months earlier than I’d expected (come on, couldn’t it have taken them a little longer to decide they didn’t want me?) So, this means there’s really no excuse for me not to start sending this elsewhere. Perhaps I should be grateful that they’ve freed it up sooner rather than later, although I have to admit I was enjoying the sense of helplessness that accompanies the waiting game. All the more reason to get playing it again as soon as possible, I suppose.

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