Warrior Writers, Part 2

by guestinyourheart

I wasn’t going to post the link to my new piece in Elephant Journal because I already wrote about the Warrior Writers experience here. But I am going to for the writer readers who may be interested in what gets published.

I submitted the blog piece, basically as written to Elephant Journal. In general, I write too long, too much and go all over the place. That’s been true since just about forever. I try to be short, concise, tight and use bullet points or big bold things to give the eyes a break. I usually fail.

The editor at Elephant Journal reminded me. Again. She wanted the opening stronger, the tone more cohesive from beginning to end and for me to hone in on a stronger theme. Even though it’s not a paying market usually I do love the writing at Elephant Journal and the mission, so I went back to it.

I made coffee, skipped out on a night of Friday plans and tried again. I cut out a lot, even things I thought were really good, that trailed off. I worked on a stronger opening. I resubmitted it and was sure it was good.

I was wrong. At least in terms of what the editor wanted. She thought it was better but wanted it a little more clear and tight.

I’m going to be honest. I was annoyed. I might have said a swear or two. I may have resented the fact that writers rarely get paid anymore. But I was excited about the writing process, the work of the Warrior Writers and the way words connected total strangers that I didn’t want to give up. o.k., 49% of me wanted to give up but the part that didn’t won that arm wrestle match and so I said, “One more f’n time. One more. That’s it. F this constant editing. Blah. Blah. Blah. Complain.”

Submit for the third time. It got accepted. It was satisfying.

It is a tighter piece of writing. It’s probably a better clip. I can’t say I “like” it better than the first because in that one I think the feeling of connecting with others oozed out more. However, it was also less disciplined writing and more of a free-write. 

So I learned two things.

1. If you want to publish for a particular place you have to write in a way that pleases them as they are the gatekeepers for their wider audience.

2. I like to write long and all over the place but only sometimes do I like to read that style. I have to remember the balance or when a piece NEEDS to be longer and when I just WANT to write long. I am a HUGE fan of free-writing, which is stream-of-consciousness style because I think it’s more honest and makes for less strained writing. However, I can be lazy and sloppy and that’s not the same as creative.

So, it’s all good learning and experience. Here’s the version that got published if you are interested. And if you want to share any thoughts or tips on your writing process, please do.