Vulnerability, Validation And ‘Perfect’ Opportunities

It’s been a while since I last blogged, but this post is one of those ‘some assembly required’ deals. That is to say, I wasn’t even sure that I was going to write about this.

Six weeks ago, I got an email from Duotrope, which is a great site for anybody who writes things and submits them – both for keeping track of submissions and finding new opportunities.

Finding opportunities to place my work is something I have always struggled with. It’s difficult when one’s primary subject is not something most people want to think about or read about.

There it was, though, in black and white. A Cardiff small press were seeking poetry on the theme of loss. This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, especially as I had some pieces that I was particularly proud of just lying around doing nothing.

These poems were born out of more recent experiences which I had to write my way through. I’m no stranger to writing my way through difficult experiences, but these pieces deserved to see the light of day in some form. I enlisted the help of a fellow writer to make sure that they were the best they could be, and finally made the submission about a week before the deadline.

Waiting to hear is always difficult, but as this submission period overlapped with the festive season, it was even more so. I hated not knowing whether they were going to accept the pieces, or what to do next if they didn’t.

A couple of weeks ago, they contacted me to say that they had received ‘a number of submissions’, and although they thanked me for giving them the opportunity to read my work, it was not suitable for the anthology. It’s been a challenge to come to terms with that, because there is a clear line between vulnerability and validation that we writers are always trying to tread. I’d be interested to hear how others have overcome that.

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