The first inspirational boost I received this week was a blog by Kristine Kathryn Rusch sent to me by a friend who knew I was struggling with making changes to my mystery after it was critiqued by an editor. If any of you are now or expect to go through the critique process, Rusch’s blog will set you free, especially if you are unpublished and vulnerable and hell-bent on perfection. By the time I finished reading Rusch’s blog, I was ready to let go of some of my anxiety. In fact, I immediately wrote a flash fiction story for Writer Unboxed. I wrote it, quickly edited and sent it—a big deal for a person who has been working on the same two short stories for several years trying to get them just right.
The second nudge
I read a piece by Andrew Porter in Glimmertrain, a literary magazine that’s been publishing short stories since 1990. Porter wrote about how writers have a tendency to discount their early work and then told about how a story he’d written years earlier, once unearthed, went on to win awards and became his most successful piece to date. His article reminded me that I have a box of old stories I haven’t looked at in years because I assumed they couldn’t possibly be relevant now. His article inspired me to take a look at those early efforts. I hope you’ll read Porter’s article and revisit any work you might have stuck away in a drawer. Who knows? Maybe a gem is hidden there.
After reading the Rusch and Porter articles, I recalled a Joan Didion interview discussing her famous book, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, gathered from articles she’d published in a number of other places. She said they were never intended to be compiled into one piece and she did not consider it her best work. They were articles written for money usually on deadline and not labors of love.
The combination of those three articles reinforced my belief that as in most things in life, all we can do is our best and then let go of the outcome. Whether what you’ve written is different than the current trend in publishing, or because you wrote it years ago, or have never thought of compiling previously published freelance articles, I sincerely hope this blog post may help inspire you today.