Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pulling a Story....

As writers we pour out our hearts and souls onto endless blank pages. We share our talents, memories, wisdoms, adventures, research, vulnerabilities, and imaginations with the world.

It’s hard to let go sometimes (ok, most of the time) to let editors do what they do best. They are, after all, called editors for a reason. They do what they’re supposed to. They edit. Some of us take it in stride (without hurt feelings). Others get emotional and cry. And others become angry, defensive, and I’m sure there are some who curse the editor or stir up trouble in one way or another.

Why am I rambling about this? I just decided to pull a story that had been chosen to be published. I won’t share details. That’s not the point I want to make. Besides, that isn’t the type of gal I am. I don’t speak ill of others. It’s not positive or constructive to do that.

What is my point? It’s this: Don’t sell yourself out for a few dollars and a byline. Ever. If your heart isn’t in it, then you shouldn’t be either. I don’t care what magazine, anthology, website, business, brochure… whatever. Our words are a valuable part of who we are as writers. What we say and how we say it is worth more than any dollar amount. At least that’s how I feel about it. I choose to pull this particular story because it was edited until my memory and I disappeared. There was nothing of me left in it. It was someone else’s story –not my own – and I can’t let that happen. Sure, I lose a paycheck and this exact opportunity for having a story published, but I’m keeping my integrity intact. And that is important to me.

I pondered this decision for days. I talked with the editor on the phone. This editor is a great editor, wonderful person, and successful in all areas of their life. We’re still on wonderful terms. There’s no hurt feelings, no bad vibes--just understanding on both our parts.

The editor told me the changes were made because that’s how it had to read in order to be published. I told them I understood completely. It’s not that I can’t take constructive criticism or have my work altered to be made better, more readable to the world, more polished. I thrive on learning from those who are more advanced than me. I love to absorb all the wisdom I can from anyone I can.

I’ve learned so much since I first started writing. It’s amazing to me how time and experiences change us so much. A year ago, I’d have been broken hearted to be so close to having my story printed at X publication. But now…. I’m fine with it. I’d rather pull my story than have my precious memories and treasured event tarnished with regret and disappointment. The editor could relate and even shared their own experience of pulling a story themselves for the same reason!

Writing isn’t about recognition, money, or even making it to the best seller list. Sure, most writers (those who dare to dream) fantasize about their name being on a best selling title, or becoming rich writers, being on TV shows, having their books become movies. Yada, yada, yada.

Writing, for me, is about spilling my heart—every fiber of my being—onto blank page after blank page. If I’m blessed, those words will fill up empty, hurting hearts with hope, inspiration, motivation, joy and peace. If I’ve done that for even one person, then I’ve become the writer I always wanted to be….

P.S. For those of you who feared I died or thought I’d fallen off the edge of the cyber highway, I assure you I’m alive and well. Life’s "chaotic adventures" just slowed me down for a while, but I’m back and I appreciate all of your devotion, kindness, and your considerate e-mails and comments have blessed me to no end! I know now more than ever that this blog truly is a genuine community and I appreciate each and every one of you who stop by to read, share your wisdom and friendship. I started this blog to be an encouragement. Imagine my surprise to find you all encourage me! Thank you!!

Spring is here! Hope your writing is blooming all along the cyber highway!

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