I am saddened, lately, by the amount of bloggers who have decided to close their proverbial door. Seems more than ever, writers and poets are just giving up. I'm not sure if they are disillusioned by rejection letters or by the great let-down of having some prestige publisher tell them their work doesn't quite measure up to par, but it makes me fearful of who's going to be leaving the blogging community next and how much their leaving has to do with the stigma of 'success' as a poet or author.
Having devoted a great majority of my recreational time to writing my own words for a number of years now (actually, 20, if we're counting!), I also have struggled with feelings of inferiority where my work is concerned. Sure, my poems have been published in a great number of indie and small press magazines (for which I'm proud, don't get me wrong), but they've never appeared in Poetry. And my name isn't categorized anywhere in the lists of Famous Women Poets on all the great poetry websites. But does that mean that I have failed as a poet?
Many times I have struggled with my own indecision...should I close my blog and my small press and just move on to something more worthy? But then, what else would bring me as much joy and enlightenment and fun as my writing? Where else would I find such a release of emotion, yet a place to mark remembrance? Who else would immortalize my experiences for some younger generation? And, besides, who is anyone to decided for me that my personal work is worthy?
I believe that the worth of a writer/poet's work lays inside the very essence of joy in having written something at all. If I write something, if I enjoy the process of writing, and if I feel a sense of accomplishment upon completing a piece of writing....then that is enough for me. That, alone, makes my work valuable. But then to take my work, my thoughts, the important things I want to say and post them to this blog...to share those thoughts with others, perhaps touch a life or two...stretch a mind or two....change a mind or two. To inspire, to teach, to enlighten....all via a published post on my personal blog...makes my work valuable whether or not a big name publisher or magazine ever picks up a piece for publication or not!
The same applies to every single other writer, blogger, poet, author with a dream of showcasing their work and touching someone else. Even if no one ever read a word you said, if it meant something to you to write that poem and click 'publish,' then that's really all that matters.
I'm not saying it's not important to have one's work published elsewhere. I know, personally, the elation of having a piece of literature accepted. I understand how our goals and our sense of worthiness can hang upon those very types of letters/emails. But, please, don't just give up when you hit a dry spot. Don't stop writing, don't lose that fire inside you just because one or two...or a hundred...people say something you've written isn't good enough. Don't allow someone else's opinion to mean that much to you that you would actually stop living your passion and following your dream.
I write because the very process of writing a poem brings me pleasure. Most of the time when I write something new, I find myself learning from myself. I am also rewarded by comments and blog communities where I share my work. Heck, I even self-publish my own work sometimes. No, it's not making me rich quick but I'm making my work available for others to purchase if they wish to own a collection of my writings in their hands rather than click through this blog. I also am making that dream come true for other writers via my independent/largely nonprofit press Pink.Girl.Ink.
Just sharing my work and aiding others in publishing their own work is enough of a contribution for me to keep me motivated with new words and lines. Sure, being famous would be wonderful...but it's not a necessity. The worth of my work does not depend upon whether I'll ever be famous or not. It depends upon what success, as a writer, means to me. As it should for you, and everyone else!
So for the sake of the creative community, don't give up! The world needs the contribution of your words and ideas, more now than ever!. Keep writing for yourself, if nothing else. Do it because you want to. Do it because it matters more than you know. It matters much more than an acceptance or rejection from some publisher or magazine. Even if it's one you had your heart set on. Believe that.