My Path to Getting Published: The Blog Tour

I tried to give Brooke Fossey the blog tour/cheese touch for the "My Writing Process" blog tour, and she turned around and tagged me on Twitter for the "My Path to Getting Published: The Blog Tour." Click on her name to read her fabulous post.  She even has pie charts.  Not only do I not have pie charts for this post, I don't have any death stuff lined up for this week, so here goes...

1. Where are you on your publishing path?

Right now, my memoir "Death Becomes Us" is out on submission, which is crazy fantastic, but is also making me a bit anxious.  The thing with memoir is that rejection feels personal.  "You mean you don't like me?"  Waaaaaaah!!!

I have to remind myself that I am simply a character in a really important story about other people.  I'm just the messenger.   Plus, rejection is part of writing.  If you're not getting rejected, you're not submitting.  And if you're not submitting, you will never be published.

2. How long has it taken you to get there?  

I first began writing with the intent to publish in about 2005, so nine years.  I began writing "Death Becomes Us" in 2008. 

3. What’s your journey looked like thus far?  

If memory serves, I was first published in the phone book in 2006. Seriously. I used to work for Directory Plus in Durango, Colorado and they published an essay I wrote about cell phones in the phone book.  Jealous? I know, it's pretty darn impressive.

My first "real" published piece was in issue 33 of Creative Nonfiction, which came out in 2007.  I attended a workshop with Lee Gutkind, CNF's editor, in Ouray, Colorado and at this conference, he told me I was a "horrible public speaker."  That stung.  But, he apparently liked the essay I submitted because it was a runner up in their contest and I even made some dough from it.  They also turned that issue into a book, "Silence Kills: Speaking Out and Saving Lives."

Mostly, I've been published in literary journals, which means that a very small, select group of people have actually read my writing.  It's funny, but I thought that once I got published in print that something magical would happen, like I'd be handed the keys to the writer room by an elf or a dragon.  That didn't happen.  

4. What’s your future look like?

Do I look like Cleo, the "Call me now" lady?

I don't live in the future.  My feel are firmly planted in today where I am writing a blog post about publishing.  All I have to do is press "Publish" and it's out there on the world wide web.  Whoa.  

After that, I'm going to write two pages and then I'm going to brush my teeth, wash my face, kiss my family goodnight and go to bed.

As before, I am not going to tag five other people.  If you want to write your own blog post using these questions, I say go for it.

All write, all write, all write!

H is for...

Psyche!  This post is totally not about the Hunger Games, even though the book (and yes even the movie) is all about DEATH.  Instead, I'm going to try my darndest to kind of incorporate the Hunger Games into a long drawn out metaphor about what it's like to be a writer.  

If you're a writer, you're used to sitting alone at your computer sharpening the weapons in your writer's toolbox.  Sometimes, you think you're getting pretty good at this writing thing.  At least that's what your Mom tells you, but she doesn't count. You're hungry to see if  your skills are really that stellar, so you venture out into the world to shoot a squirrel.  

Wait a second.  I take that back. You don't kill a squirrel because that would be senseless and cruel, unless you plan on eating it and I don't know, squirrel meat just sounds kind of yucky.  Instead, you take your coffee stained, wrinkled pages to your trusty writer's group or you send your manuscript to a trusted friend to see what they think about your supposedly mad writing skills.

There is a long pause.  Sometimes it starts out with a vague "that was interesting" comment and then you hear the dreaded words that no writer ever wants to hear, "Primrose Everdeen!"  I mean, "BUT."  And there's always a but.  Why?  Because writing is subjective.  Some people think the Twilight books are the cat's pajamas and I think they're...well, um, uniquely different, but that's another story.

Okay, so let's say there's is a reaping and you volunteer your story because your younger sister's story is kind of weak. And you meet Lenny Kravitz, I mean this cool person that you really like and she gives you a writer's hat and convinces you that you're going to nail this one and be victorious in this game.  So you submit.

After hitting send, you run off into the forest to get as far away from the other writers as you can and you wait.  And wait.  And wait some more.  And just when you're about to give up, a balloon drops from the sky and says, "Congratulations.  We have whittled down all the entries to the top forty and yours is one of them.  We'll let you know soon. Thanks for your patience."

So for the first time in a long time you've got hope and hope is good. But then you realize you're going to have to kill Peeta to be the victor in this game of publication.  And who wants to kill Peeta?  

I certainly don't want to kill Peeta.  

But it's all for naught because you get rejected from this book, so you contemplate eating some poison berries for like a second and then you realize you don't have to do anything that rash because you and Peeta can both win.

So what's the moral of this story?  There are several. You can't win if you don't play the game.  Don't kill the people who help you along the way.  In fact, prop them up and support them in any way you can. And whatever you do, don't give up.  This writing game is a bitch, but lucky for us, there can be more than one victor.  Even luckier, it's not televised.