On Writing and Gentle Pushes and Being Published

For as long I can remember, I’ve loved the writer’s craft, loved stringing words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into essays and stories and blog posts. There’s a quiet joy that comes when you’ve found just the right expression, when it all seems to come together and some kind of magic happens, a magic that brings plain print to life.

Writing is therapeutic for me, too. (This isn’t some imagined benefit, either – science backs me up on it). It allows me to wrestle, to fight, to know what it is I really think. There are times when I need to write, times when I have to put a pen to paper and get it and get it all out.

But it’s a vulnerable thing, writing is, pouring out your heart, letting the thoughts flow, and I’ve had a hard time working up the courage to share with the greater world, beyond the safe confines of this small, neglected blog. For the most part, those who read here regularly are those who know me in real life, those who love me and support me and (let’s be honest) just might continue to follow my posts even if I had no writing ability, even if my prose was stilted and dry and boring.

(I say this to Jonathan, regularly, when he tells me a piece is good: “You have to say that. You’re married to me.”)

And so, though I’ve long dreamed of being published, I’ve kept my writing to myself, limited it to this blog and to my journal. I’ve been afraid of rejection, of saying the wrong thing, of pouring myself into a piece and having an editor tear it to shreds. Up until a few weeks ago, I had never submitted anything to a blog or a magazine or a newspaper, never tried to get published anywhere but here on my own private corner of the internet.

Then my sister-in-law texted me, mentioned a magazine she reads, encouraged me to submit something. Though many loved ones, including my husband, have told me I should pursue this writing dream, it took one specific suggestion to get me moving. I went to their site, saw they had an upcoming blog series on adoption (a painful topic for me, but one near and dear to my heart), spent hours thinking about and composing a piece. It was a difficult essay to write, bringing back many painful memories, and I was hesitant to share it. What if they didn’t like it? How would I handle that rejection? More importantly, adoption can be so good, and there are so many kids out there who need homes – what if writing about my experiences for a broader audience caused someone to change their mind about pursuing that path? Still, it was written. Jonathan convinced me it was worth reading. So I sent it in.

And they accepted it. (It was posted today. Here it is, if you’d like to read it: http://www.brainchildmag.com/2014/10/brave-enough/)

It’s done two things for me, this acceptance: it’s sparked a desire in me to get my words out there, to find more places to share stories, to bite the bullet and submit even though I know rejections will come. And it’s made me want to be that gentle push for others, to find specific ways I can speak a word here or a word there to encourage someone else to take the first step forward in pursuing those things that matter.

Writing

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6 Responses to On Writing and Gentle Pushes and Being Published

  1. palmermom says:

    Congratulations on getting published! And what an excellent piece! Words can be so inadequate to describe a heart’s thrill and its pain. You used them well.

  2. Kristin says:

    Your piece is beautiful and heartbreaking, and I will never forget it.
    Congratulations on your publication in a smart and wonderful place.

    • Jenn says:

      Thank you, Kristin. Brain, Child is an excellent publication – I was thrilled to be included.

      And thank you for your kind words. It brings meaning, somehow, to the pain if I can use my story and my experience to help or touch others in some way.

  3. jywatkins says:

    Congratulations! I understand the feeling of worrying about being good enough to step out and release your writing to a greater audience. I’ve barely shared my blog with people I know. And as a reader who doesn’t know you in real life, I read your blog because your writing is beautiful and truthful and heartbreaking in the most honest ways. Thanks for sharing all your thoughts and insights.

  4. It makes me really happy that my “gentle push” helped you submit this piece. 🙂

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