I woke up today at around 3 AM when the sky was dark and there’s no birds chirping to welcome my morning. As I checked my mobile phone, I found out that another literary magazine rejected my writing submission. Another was from a fellow writer, asking my help to beta read his writing. I straightened up my posture in the bed and proceeded to my laptop.
While perusing my friend’s writing, I thought of the reason why I was restless early in the morning. Probably because I grew tired of all the rejections I got. People said rejections are good, so we learn from our mistakes and make a better writing. But still, it hurt my pride.
I’ve been writing since I was eight years old. One of my short stories was published in ‘Bobo’, a popular children magazine in Indonesia. Growing up, I won some speech and writing competitions in Jakarta. Now at the age of late twenties, I’ve ventured my way writing across many platforms, including Weebly, Wordpress, and Medium. I slowly grow my audience.
I would say that I’m a risk taker. While I plot my writings, I submit them as aggressively as I could. I strategized to self-publish the writings, hoping that some readers find it pleasing to them. Thus, I plunged my feet to the rejection pool. The way I see it is that I will keep on writing despite these rejections.
What lurked in the dark, alongside with the rejection, is my envy. I caught myself looking at my best friend’s published article, and an emerging writer’s book with envy. I kept on thinking ‘when will it be me?’
But I’m not being honest enough. The reason why my ego is hurt is because I seek for approval. Facebook has the like and share button, Twitter has the retweet and like feature, Instagram has the like and repost function, and Medium has the claps. They all stimulate me to seek for attention. And it scares me how dependent I am to the number of likes.
I’m thinking of joining writing competitions this year. Yet, I keep on debating between submitting my current writing or start from scratch with a winning theme. It all depends on me. But I hope I write not only because I want to win the attention but also because I like writing.
Since 2018, I pushed myself taking writing classes online, which is accessible nowadays with the help of technology. There are two reasons why I do this. First, I write in English and I think English-based courses best suited me. Second, I’m an avid learner who believes in education. My writing improves with the online classes.
Thinking about all the commitments I give to writing, I wonder why am I writing for? I’m not a full-time writer and thus consider writing as a hobby, rather than a job. Maybe what’s lacking is the way I see writing: it should be a craftsmanship rather than an attention-seeking effort. Craftsmanship is all about passion, patience, and continuous improvement. It’s about forgiving our mistakes and refining our crafts because we love writing.