Technology is Hard, Plus Publishing

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I can’t speak for every writer, but judging by the ones I know, most writers want readers. In order to get readers you must publish. Publishing, as a concept, an industry, an idea, is vast and wide and confusing. Consider that simply printing copies of your work and handing it to people counts as rudimentary publishing, and video files are also considered publications. There’s no realistic way for me to address it all in a blog post that is meant to be short enough to read while drinking a cup of coffee (or beverage of choice). Besides, I am not an expert. So today I’m just going to tell you about a recent experience that involved both technology and publishing.

Button Poetry put out a call recently for their Short Form Poetry Contest. Button Poetry is a well-respected poetry powerhouse. They were early adopters of technology and alternative publishing, starting with performance videos of spoken work poetry on YouTube. They’ve since moved (back) into the print world. I encourage you to check them out.

For this call, they defined “short form” as 250 characters or less. Writing tweet length, or micro poetry is a fun challenge. I like the simplicity and wit of a profound bon mot and I have a file full of scraps waiting to become real poems. Unfortunately, the site guidelines specified that poets must have an Instagram account to enter because the winners will be published on Instagram.  No! I don’t do Instagram!

OK. The truth is that while I am deeply insecure and want people to like my work, I am also just as narcissistic as the next writer. I wasn’t going to let Instagram stop me, and  I forged ahead!

I chose “jmowrites” for my user name but got a message that the name wasn’t available. What?! Who is the interloper using my name?!  I came up with another one and immediately searched for jmowrites.  Turns out, I was the interloper. Oh yeah. I forgot that I set up an account a while ago because I wanted to look someone up. I never went back and it’s been there empty and abandoned. Oops.

It took an hour+ to get into jmowrites, change the password, create an actual profile, disable the new one, and figure out how to put a post on Instagram, which I did. Then I submitted to the contest. That was two days ago, and now I wait.

There’s no argument that new technology has changed the publishing world. I would say mostly for the better, but it isn’t always easy. Personally, I feel like I am on a never-ending learning curve, struggling to remain current as technology races ahead of me. On the other, non-technical, side of the submission process, writers, artists and creators of all kinds, stand in the the lonely place of uncertainty and doubt. It is emotionally stressful to sift through one’s work, attempting to evaluate it objectively the way an unseen editor might, and finally release it into the world, to perhaps find a home.

Do it anyway! You’ll be glad you did. Good luck!

“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anais Nin


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