Earlier this evening I was lamenting to a friend how I enjoy sharing my writing with others; however, if I want to send my poetry out to literary journals/magazines for publication, they rarely allow “reprints” which means if I’ve published it on my blog or on Facebook or anywhere else, they won’t accept it. Though I understand why I find this frustrating because part of me just wants to share my work, but I also like the idea of being published. It was at this point in our conversation that I began to question my own motives. Why? Why does it matter if my poems are published in some obscure literary rag in the darkest recesses of the internet?
It was at this point in our conversation that I began to question my own motives. Why? Why does it matter if my poems are published in some obscure literary rag in the darkest recesses of the internet?
As much as I’d prefer to bs the answer to this and just say, “because it just does damn it!” That is a huge cop out and I know it. It doesn’t really have anything to do with publication, but it does have a hell of a lot to do with a need for validation. I am a validation whore! There, I said it.
We all want to be appreciated and told that we’re good at something. It feels good when people recognize us. It feels good when you can point to your name in print (and not just in the police report column of the local paper) and say, “I wrote that.”
But here’s the problem, I recently was fortunate enough to have that very opportunity. I did the thing! My name is in print alongside some amazingly talented friends! So why do I still continue to send my work out to various publications?
What my answer boils down to is that I have this nagging little voice in my head that keeps telling me I am still, somehow, not worthy to call myself a writer or a poet, though I know I most certainly am.
I need a plan of attack and it just so happens that my dear friend gave me an excellent solution, though I didn’t see it at the time. He said that I should post a verse a day and just tag people who enjoy my writing. At the time, I was only luke-warm to the suggestion and I said I’d “try;” he replied, “do or do not, there is no try.” Ugh. Fuck it. Alright, I give in. I responded, “fair enough – I will…and now because I told you I will, I must actually do it.”
So now I have a challenge, but also an opportunity – to share; and maybe, just maybe, I’ll come to realize what I already know to be true; I already have all the validation I need. I write; therefore, I am a writer. It doesn’t matter whether others think my writing is “good enough” or not; all that matters is that I keep writing.