My friend Megan Chapman has a great, brave post on her blog this week that contains a journal entry in which she questions her art and herself as an artist. (Megan gives away a piece of art to a random commenter once a month...check it out!) Many folks have chimed in through the comments, but I find myself lingering on the questions and thinking about my own questioning/doubting/ second-guessing.
If you read this blog back in June, you know that I sent out about 20 submissions containing new poems. I've now gotten back a few rejections; at the same time, I've been combing through the new manuscript with the most critical eye yet, and I'm finding some weaker points. As the summer is now about 2/3 over, and school/work is looming on the horizon, I've also taken a moment to reflect on what I've accomplished. All of this reflection, leaves me thinking I could be doing more. I have not written every day, as I intended. I have not read all of the books on my "unread" shelf, as I intended. I have spent some days on the couch watching baseball and Netflix films. I have spent some days reading political thrillers instead of poetry/literature. I have spent some days reading other people's blogs rather than writing. Does this mean I am not serious enough about my work? When given the entire summer, with no obligations and therefore no excuses for not working, I feel a bit like I've let myself down.
Megan talks about having to be a sales person to get her work out there on the market and wonders about how that might influence her. I know that for me, perseverance in submitting work, in marketing myself as a "serious" writer, has been the only way for me to get published. Most of my individual poems go out to dozens of magazines before being accepted. Blood Almanac was accepted after over 50 rejections. When hearing of other writers and how their work is accepted almost instantly and from the press/publication of their choice, I begin to wonder if my work holds up.
All of this questioning must seem a bit self-indulgent, but I think it is important to acknowledge the doubts that run like a minor current through my mind on a pretty constant basis. For me, it is important to acknowledge the doubts and then find ways to overcome them.
Next time...methods to overcome the doubts.