It's been awhile, but now I'm ready to write again. Much as I'd like to credit Robin for her suggestion that I listen to 'Eye of the Tiger," that's not what did it for me. That song just made me wanna punch somebody.
For awhile, I buried my desire to write in the mud. Rejections (two), unanswered queries (three), a publishing opportunity in limbo (12 months). Frustrating. But I pulled myself out of the dregs after successfully completing a 1000-word essay. It will publish in a newspaper column in two weeks. They're even running my photo along with the essay.
I submitted my first draft shortly before Christmas (actually my second draft since my first draft was born on this blog last summer). The editor liked it, but felt that I held back at the conclusion. She told me not to worry, that it is common for essayists to become blocked, or to mask their true feelings, particularly when writing about themselves. Fear of exposure. Avoidance of a discomforting place. Me? I thought. As I've said here before, I'm a fairly transparent writer.
I read over the essay, reconsidered the content, rewrote the ending. But it didn't work. She said my ending felt forced, like I wrote something for the sheer sake of finishing the essay, getting it out my way. That was kinda sorta the case.
"The answer is right in there," she told me. "Look at it close."
I let it sit for a few days and then looked at it again. I found the conclusion. She was right, it was there all along. I was trying to say something, but for whatever reason, I just wouldn't say it. It was nothing big, monumental. Nothing to be embarrassed about. I just missed it. Tried too hard. So I reworked the conclusion and resubmitted. "I like it a lot," she said. "It's perfect."
I'll offer a link to the essay when it publishes on the 25 of this month. If you've been reading my blog awhile, you might even recognize it, now made over an polished.
On another note: I was so revved, I pulled out that YA verse novel I've been randomly working on, reworked it some. I'll submit a portion to my crit group in a couple weeks.