And goodbye. I’m sorry to say this is the end of my time at Bluestem. I’m graduating and then starting graduate school in the fall. I hope you have enjoyed my blogs as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Working with Bluestem has been a wonderful opportunity, and I’m so blessed to have been able to read your submissions and write this blog.
If this position has taught me anything, it’s been that you have to keep writing no matter what if it’s your passion. If you’re not sure it is, then keep submitting and figure it out. So, I guess that’s my advice for you. Keep writing, and don’t lose courage if you are rejected. Some authors—well known and otherwise—have been rejected hundreds of times before their work was accepted. I know that might not sound comforting, but it’s meant to be.
Another thing Bluestem has taught me is that you cannot be married to your work. You may have a God complex, but editors do not care how great of a writer you think you are; we care about how good you are at editing your work and ensuring that every line is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing. I can’t remember who, but someone once said, “There are no great writers, only great revisers.” So you have to be able to go back to your work, pull pieces out that don’t fit, and make your finished product as tight and effective as possible. If it helps, you can save all the lines and sentences you had to cut on a rough draft or a different version to use for later for something else. Because I know it’s hard to say goodbye to your writing when you think every single word you’ve used is just genius. Trust me, it probably isn’t. There’s possibly glimpses of genius within it, but even the most intelligent, cultured writers write drafts and then revise.
So, just like I’m about to say goodbye, don’t be afraid to say goodbye too. It’s scary, and you don’t want to do it, but it’s a necessary process. I know I don’t want to say goodbye to my readers—all three of you—or to Bluestem, but I’ve learned all I can from it, and now I must put on my big-girl pants and go back to work—to writing and grad school.
Lastly, I want to thank Bluestem for teaching me a lot about myself, writing, and editing. You cannot truly know what you think about something unless you write it down, strip it from your mind, and allow it to settle on the paper. This blog has helped me to evaluate what I appreciate in writing and writers, and I will be a better writer myself for it.
So, goodbye readers and writers. Keep reading—because ignorance is never bliss—keep writing, and keep sending out submissions.
Goodnight and good skill. (Remember there’s no luck in writing.)
~Emily Bowers, no longer Assistant Editor, but forever a reader and writer