A Message for Writers From an Editor: We Love You
By Chelsey Clammer
To click is to believe. Believe in yourself. To have confidence that you have a good reason to click. To click is to put yourself out into the world, to make yourself vulnerable to people you don’t know, people whose eyes exist to “evaluate” your work. A performance review of sorts. Or, the unhelpful and self-destructive view on all of this: you’re about to be judged.
Belief in this pessimistic perspective might deter you from clicking.
Best advice I, as an editor, can give to you: stop those thoughts.
We love you.
Because editors aren’t judging you, but critiquing your work. These are two totally different things. You may be the coolest person on earth, but if your writing isn’t right for us at this time, it doesn’t mean we think you in any way suck. You, my dear, are awesome. We’re cheering you on. Keep going.
But we can’t do or say any of this, if you don’t click.
That submit button exists for a reason, but it’s purposeless if you don’t engage with it. I implore you to employ it.
Clicking that button is an act of faith, because when you submit you’re having some optimism and believing in a number of things, such as:
1. Your writing won’t embarrass you
2. Your writing can reach out to someone else
3. You have interesting things to say
4. You can trust a stranger to evaluate your skills and passion
5. You can trust other people to help your textual, pixelated babies grow
All of these things are true. So hold onto these beliefs, because having an editor judgeevaluateconsider your work doesn’t have to be terrifying nor a catalyst for anxiety. Submitting, in essence, is starting a conversation. You write, someone reads and then responds, and then you continue the dialogue as you write and edit more. Regardless of the outcome, the point to all of this is that someone is reading your work. Hot damn. This is called sharing. And an editor’s response to each submission is full of an act that we call caring.
In fact, there’s some mad respect going on in this situation, because you’re going after your passion, and that’s awesome. So no matter if publication occurs or not, know that editors will always be cheering you on, will be woot-ing you each time you click.
Put the doubt and anxiety into some metaphorical box and lock it with some metaphorical key and throw all that out mentally. Trash all the trash-talking you do to yourself—the I'm not good enough and the no one cares about what I say.Pahshaw. We want to read, we get excited with each new submission. We want to help share people’s words with the world, and so each time a new submission comes in, we’re amazed by how so many people write down stanzas and sentences in order to un-silence experiences.
Chelsey Clammer is the Managing Editor and Nonfiction Editor for The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, as well as a columnist and workshop instructor for the journal. She is also the Nonfiction Editor for Pithead Chapel and Associate Essays Editor for The Nervous Breakdown. Her first collection of essays, BodyHome, is forthcoming from Hopewell Publishing in Winter 2014. Her second collection of essays, There Is Nothing Else to See Here, is forthcoming from The Lit Pub, Spring 2015. You can read more of her writing at: www.chelseyclammer.com.