Breaking out beyond my blog

Months ago, I wrote a blog post called Blogging, Disabilities and Other Stuff. After I hit publish, I realized that The Other Stuff is the tile of my blog. Possibly, and unintentionally, I may have defined the other stuff. In this post, the only other stuff besides blogging and disabilities is my insecurity over whether I’m a good enough writer to compete in the real world.

I’ve blogged for almost six years. In this time, I’ve written a total of three hundred stories, give or take. Most have been posted, some anonymously on separate site I keep for anonymous postings, and some, too provocative to post, I stuck in the vault, never to see the light of day again. Sucks. I’ve got some good stuff in that vault.

As a blogger, I get to publish anything I want. No one else decides for me. I’ve published multilayered essays, rambling stories that never make a point, poetry, humor, fiction, some videos, lots and lots of nonfiction and even some experimental pieces I define as prose-poetry. It’s all good enough to publish because I say it is.

Of course, readers weigh in on this. Some of my favorite posts, the ones I love the most, are all but ignored, whereas posts that I’ve dashed off as a rant or a lark get dozens of likes. Every now and then, the readers and I agree. We all like something I wrote.

When I wrote Blogging, Disabilities and Other Stuff, I had just finished writing a short story called Different Lives. I worked on it—toiled, I’d say—for weeks. Sometimes I loved it, and sometimes I hated it. I kept tweaking it until I ultimately couldn’t decide whether I loved it or hated it, so I called it done. I sent it out to a dozen literary reviews to be considered for publication.

Handing over the decision whether something is good enough to publish to an editor is, for me, agonizing. As soon as I started sending out my story, I also started checking my email obsessively looking for a response. I quickly determined that I’m not a good enough writer, too deliberate, lacking nuance, not classy enough to be published anywhere but my blog.

I’m happy to report that as of yesterday, Different Lives is part of the June edition of the Bangalore Review. No, I hadn’t heard if it either, but after reading the masthead, I think it’s a perfect place for me to land.

Please take fifteen minutes to read DIFFERENT LIVES. I still don’t know if I love or hate this story, but I couldn’t be prouder of it.

I’d like to thank Nicole and Kim for beta-reading the story, and Annie and Binder Smiff for offering consultation and advice on the medical passages. And of course, thank you to Susan for saying, No, Jeff, this doesn’t suck.

25 thoughts on “Breaking out beyond my blog

  1. You’ve officially joined the ranks of “real” writer. Way to go!

    As for the submission process, UGH! Sometimes having to wait months with no response, sometimes NEVER getting a response, other times getting the dreaded form letter rejection. It’s a nightmare. Or, at least it can be if your neuroses get the best of you.

    Supposedly, as you get better (writing), the rejection letters come in stages. First you get the straight form letter. Then comes one that might be personalized (as opposed to Dear Writer it’ll have your name). Then you get a note that’s formulaic, but actually written by an editor (this doesn’t fit blah blah blah). Then the one that says “this piece doesn’t fit but please submit again.” Then one that suggests changes and asks for re-submission.

    And then the acceptance letter.

    I wrote this is “supposedly” how it works because I’ve only received the form rejection letters, but I have it on good authority from published authors I know that this is how it works. But, in this case it’s moot because you’ve skipped ahead and got right to the acceptance. Congratulations!

    Like

    • Oh, I got plenty of form-letter rejections in this round. For what ever reason, this resinated with them, which is odd, because most of their writers are from India and closely geographic countries. Thanks for the note. That whole concept of *real* is funny. I was out hiking with the founder of Like the Wind magazine (which is a cool ink & paper magazine published in the UK) and he mentioned *real* magazine publishers. I’m not what it takes to become real. Oh, right, tears from a little sick boy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on getting your short story published, Jeff. I am not surprised – you are a great writer. Really. You tell stories in a unique voice, one that makes me want to read more. I haven’t read “Different Lives” yet, but I will.

    Your decision to have 2 blogs is interesting. I have thought about doing the same thing. I have some ideas for topics that I would like to publish anonymously. They are not good subject material for Meditations in Motion – the topics are more controversial than the ones I write about there. I just worry about the time it would take to curate another blog. You must have found a way to make it work, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Setting up the second blog didn’t take very long, but I also didn’t put much effort into it. I learned that you need to set it up under a completely different email address or it won’t be anonymous. Because I post intermittently and at great intervals people don’t really read. But I hate the idea of writing and not showing anyone. Thanks for the compliments.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I don’t think I could ever type a negative comment. Other people see something like that. Those are the things you sit around and discuss the “why’s” of. And not that this one possessed the need for that. The story reminded me of your bike accident and I was able to see it from so many different perspectives as the day unfolded. But I understand it is fiction, so I imagine some pieces are not the same at all. Very good to read.

        Like

      • So this was a fictionalization of that crash. Some part were dead on, others I made changes to because the characters would be more interesting. The MC dying was the most likely outcome of the day. I got very lucky. Every now and then I’ll leave a comment disagreeing with a post. It’s uncomfortable but that’s what I would prefer people do with me if they disagree. I don’t think I’m ever mean about it but it might come off that way.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post about writing and publishing, I’m too scared to submit my writing. for fear that the rejections would bring me down, maybe even stop me from writing (I can be that sensitive), it’s brave of you to submit your work, I think it’s very interesting writing, I like the casual, informative details and backstory you include that bring us to the story. Congratulations on publishing, “Different Lives”, (I was also impressed with the medical details, the descriptions seemed very accurate).

    Like

      • You’re welcome, you have a very readable voice/style, I think the old way of publishing is phasing out, and good riddance in my opinion. Lots of best sellers seem formulaic to me, indie writers have authenticity. Thank you for your encouraging compliment about my writing too.

        Liked by 1 person

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