Another Rumination on Publication

In addition to the academic work I’ve done and might yet post to this webspace, as I’ve noted, I’ve spent a fair bit of time writing less formal essays and poetry in other venues. I’ve also tried my hand at serial narration in this webspace, though that has not gone nearly as well as I would have liked. (There are reasons I abandoned the projects when and where I did. Some of them are even good ones.) I keep them in other places for reasons that must remain private for the moment, but I do toy with the idea, now and again, of sending them out for formal publication. I do still flirt with the idea of seeing my name in print, on the spines of books that other people read, even if there is much in me that hesitates to send ideas out into the world in ways they might actually be rejected.

Related image
Image from iStock, used for commentary.

I am a coward, I know. The worst that can happen with a rejection is the rejection; it’s not money out of my pocket, in the main, and it’s certainly not a punch in the face or a kick to the ribs–or lower yet. I’ve suffered such any number of times, sometimes even undeservedly so, so I ought to be glad of a simple “no” instead of a more emphatic iteration. Still, the “no” scares me more than it ought to, and I seem less able to move past it than ought to be the case. I expect my students to persevere; I ought to demand no less of myself. And I’ve knocked until my knuckles have bled before…

I can easily come up with reasons not to send things out. Some of them would even sound good. But they would be excuses, ultimately, ways to talk myself out of making an attempt that might not succeed. The idea of being rejected is an uncomfortable one, even if it is one I know I must contend with (again; I’ve had papers handed back with “nos” of varying friendliness). I try to avoid it; not being rejected has occupied more of my time than actually doing something that might be rejected–or accepted. But as long as I am not told “no,” I do not have to confront the idea that I have somehow failed (again; it would not be the first time I’ve failed, as I think has been made abundantly clear in this webspace and elsewhere). I do not have to face evidence of my own unworth.

Really, though, I need to get over myself. I cannot not write the words; I am compelled to it, and I grow even more irritable than I normally am when I do not heed that compulsion. And since I am going to write them, and since I put enough of them where others can see them anyway, why would I not see about gathering enough of them together (and there are enough such out in the world) and trying to make a sale of some of them?

Help a writer out?

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