Mar 10, 2011

When a professor asks why you put a certain line into your paper... not answer with, "Because I was trying to fill up the page."

All right. So, me saying that to my Education prof (who is also an English professor) was indicative of how I think about my own writing. I am not confident enough, and I do not take a lot of initiative to improve my writing. Instead, I am constantly restarting a new story. After the words split from my head and splat on the paper, my head thinks the process is over. I do this with term papers and short answer essays. I do not look over my work. Even when I pass along an unrevised first chapter to a friend, I tell them I have not read it. It's a sort of mini-disclaimer, but it accomplishes nothing good. In fact, it probably annoys the people I say it to; they just happen to love me too much to say anything.

And so, that same professor asked me to submit to a literary and art publication via my school. I really, really, really want to...but yeah. I honestly do not have anything that fits the bill. And since this publication looks for pragmatic and abstract submissions, it is extremely hard to find a viable excuse. I do not have any short stories that make sense, especially because they are all the beginning of a novel. My prof suggested I send him something that could be turned into a short story and we'd revise it together. Who the hell would refuse that offer? Not me. So now I am in a predicament: wtf do I send?

I'll be rummaging through my folders this evening in the hopes that something pops up.

And sorry I was gone for a week; life totally caught up with me.


  1. Oh wow, Jon, congrats on this! I'm sure you can find something. Wishing you the best of luck!

  2. It annoyed me. But I loved you too much to say anything. :D

    What an exciting offer! Now that I am out of school, and far far away from my university, I'm so sad I didn't take up some of the offers that were made by my teachers (one was to send one of my plays to her editor friend - her SCHOLASTIC BOOKS editor friend) Take these opportunities while you can, even if you are not confident at the time, J!!!

  3. Wow! That's awesome Jon! Good luck rummaging--and yay for taking advantage of such a cool offer :)

  4. Sounds like you've got a fantastic teacher and ally. Talk it out w/him. He's on your side.

  5. GO FOR IT!

    And it sounds as if you don't buy the value of revisions -- as if you think that if it's not good when it goes onto the page it can't possibly get any better. That's not true ...

    We should chat sometime about the process of revision as a means to find the real story!

  6. I think you should write a new short story. Divide the story into scenes in your head. Make sure you a have a beginning scene and an ending scene. Now sit down with a pen and paper and write down the big things that happen in each scene. Then sit down at your computer and write the scenes. Once complete, step away for a day. Come back and read what you wrote. Improve the thing. Repeat the last three steps. Pass the sucker to your prof. You rock!

  7. ....or ... maybe you could be productive and write a whole new story :)