Thursday, March 25

My Dilemma

Posted by Shelly Holder

I have a thought that has been bothering me for days, and subjects me alternatively to guilt, shame, unease, unhappiness, and discontent.

I love being published. But the rapid return in publishing that I have seen in the last six months-- in the last six WEEKS- makes me wonder.

Am I just whoring myself out?

I get published, yes. And one can argue that any published work is better than no work at all. However, when I get three poems all accepted to the same magazine, is that real publication? ESPECIALLY when a "filler" poem got accepted? I have taken the Paternal Voice's advice to always submit the maximum amount, because it truly does make statistical sense, and have been sending off batches of 4 or 5 or 6 poems with the understanding that not all of the poems will exactly fit the venue, and with the understanding that one, if any, of the poems will be seriously considered for publication. Even less will actually be published.

So I suddenly get published, boom boom boom, and I am left in the dark, on my back, wondering if I have just been used. Could I have done better? Was this the wisest choice? There is that flavor of shame and regret that accompanies bad life decisions that lingers in my mouth.

I don't know. I don't know what IS the best move. Poetry publication is very different than book/novel publishing. I somewhat understand that sort of industry from Writer's Digest and The Writer (which tend to focus on longer pieces), but I admit that I have not yet come to understand the strategy behind the poetry publication industry.

So, what IS it that I should do? Should I continue to publish, or should I hold my work in reserve, trying to find the "ideal" market that I'm not sure even exists? I don't know.

For now, all I can do is write. And ask around for the opinions of other writers and professionals that have come up against this issue before. So chime in. I'd love to know what you think, and how you dealt with this yourself.

Right now:
What I'm listening to: poetry.
What I want most: good advice.


Lisa Rivero said...

Shelly, I can very much relate to how you are feeling. It seems that no matter what I publish, where I publish it, or how it is received, I find a way to doubt myself and second-guess my way out of any good feelings.

For what it's worth, here is my advice:

Congratulation yourself for the acceptances! Give yourself permission to enjoy this moment.

Our minds will always jump to conclusions, so why not jump to good ones? :)

Publish where and what you can, secure in the knowledge that you will continue to write and have plenty of work for later. Sometimes I think we hold back because we are afraid our well will run dry. It won't. It will just get better.

Hugs to you. And congratulations!