Until fairly recently, my relationships with various publishers/editors was a paradoxical mixture of respect, gratitude, pleasant surprise, detachment, frustration and astonished incomprehension. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, I worked as a local columnist and volunteered as reporter for a national yoga magazine. Both efforts taught me that I did not feel comfortable wearing the journalist hat at that time, so I concentrated on establishing myself as a free lance poet/writer.
Two book contracts went awry in the 1990’s. Though I had accumulated a several page-long publication resume along with a few awards, I still found myself in a place of discouragement around the subject of my writing life.
I told myself I no longer had time for the arduous task of releasing bits and pieces of my work that did not lead to an ongoing publication relationship based on mutual respect and appreciation. I heard lavish praise of my work as empty words that did not bring the support I needed to continue my writing endeavors. I took a long break from the publishing world.
Now, I am re-thinking my point of view, realizing I took rejection too seriously and acceptance too lightly. I did not well understand the publisher’s side of the writing business.
I have changed my way of seeing things, dramatically. I see the people in the publishing world as potential friends—as professionals who want me to succeed. I see how publishers and editors need to consider commercial issues in order to remain viable. I do not wish to interfere with that process or make it harder for them to do their job.
I continue to be grateful. I continue to be respectful, but I am also aware of the requirement to balance the vision I have for my work with the necessary detachment the publisher/editor roles bring to that vision. Discouragement dissolves much more quickly with this attitude when difficulties arise during the publication process; for difficulties are bound to arise with all the moving parts necessary to shepherd a project to completion.