I was 23 when I mailed my first submission. My first rejection letter arrived soon after. I still have it. I’ve saved all my rejections. Early on, most were form letters. Eventually, many of them gave advice and criticism. And more recently, editors have asked for more of my work and to see revisions.
I kept writing. I wrote poems, short stories, and novels. One short story won a prize from the Children’s Writer in 1996. Another won a prize from them in 2011.
In 2002, I received my first acceptance letter, my first sale. It was for a poem (My Face), published in February, 2005 in Ladybug magazine.
While those contest prizes and that acceptance letter helped to validate my struggles, they did not make me a Writer. Seeing my poem in Ladybug was a dream-come-true, but that didn’t make me a Writer either. What makes me a Writer is all the time I spend doing what I love, choosing the words to put on the page, structuring them into sentences and stanzas and paragraphs.
I’ve been a Writer since I was five.
Kathy Cannon Wiechman