Learning to speak a new language means you have to open your mouth one day, and say something.  Starting a writing career feels the same way to me.  A friend sent a list of magazines that accept essay submissions.  I pored over it, found a few that seemed likely, sat down to write.  Yesterday, I warmed up by sending two “micro-essays” to Common Ties, then crafting a longer piece for Plenty Magazine.  I had to cut so much from the Plenty piece to get it under the word limit, it feels a little constricted.  Everyone says that cutting is the key to editing, and I agree, but writing needs a bit of expansiveness, a pause between breaths.  Maybe the story was too big for the space I had to tell it.  I suspect I will hear nothing – you don’t even get rejection letters anymore – but I can market it elsewhere.  I contacted two children’s science magazines to find out their pitch and submissions guidelines.

Today, I wrote a piece for Skirt Magazine.  It came out right, but so personal.  I felt like I might be selling a piece of myself.  But that’s the personal essay.  I see now why so many writers wrap themselves in humor when telling personal stories: telling it straight is terrifying.  But nothing is coming out in a humorous voice right now, so I took the leap of faith and sent the email.  I can own this story while still sharing it.  If I’ve told it well enough, if the writing is lyrical enough, it will move someone, but it will still be mine.  If it’s beautiful enough, then telling it is not a loss.


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