After I've written something I'm then faced with the question of "what to do with it?". How in the world does one go about selling words on paper? How do I start from nothing and make something?
My desire to write gets a bit emotional at times as deep down inside my very being I want to impact people with my writing, make them look at the world differently and possibly even change who they are. But that's down the road for me. Right now I simply need to learn how to write well and how to become published.
Walking home this morning after a delicious almond croissant and cappuccino at Masa, a favorite breakfast spot, I passed the English bookstore, Authors. A lightbulb went off in my mind reminding me that the City Paper was coming out today. I popped in and asked about the latest edition. Just delivered, still wrapped in plastic it sat on the counter. Bouncing on my toes I waited to be handed the first copy. Sitting in the corner the owner noticed my excitement and asked if I had an article in this issue. "Yes!" bubbled out as I held my fresh-off-the-press, still damp copy in my hands. "It's the story about the Amazon." I said in a "please be the only person in this city to read it" plea.
I walked home slowly soaking in every word of my story.
I reflected on the goal I made a few months earlier to write one story every 3 months before I leave Bogota and attempt to get it in print. When I sent this story to the editor of the City Paper I mentioned that I would love an opportunity to write consistently for the paper. Through emails we agreed that he would edit and refine my pieces to give me the learning experience I am longing for.
My first review of the draft of my original piece left me fuming. "This is not my piece at all!" I cried. I had to leave the computer and come back after I had cooled off. I printed out the original and the revised piece. I highlighted and compared. I began to understand how he had trimmed down my 1,200 word piece to the 900 word maximum to fit the paper. I examined how he combined thoughts and sentences to accomplish this goal. A few facts were added that rounded out the story. I realized how well the piece read. It began to sink in that if I wanted to take full advantage of this opportunity, I would need to be teachable. So that is my goal for the remainder of my time here in Bogota, to be teachable in my writing (and photography). To take advantage of every note, edit and comment. To fully understand the reason for changes and apply them in my writing.
I arrived home and waved the paper in the air. My husband put down what he was doing and read the story. He smiled at me proudly and said "We should frame this". At first I though it a silly idea, but the more I contemplate it I realize that every time I look at this piece I will see a bit of hope in the future. The first step on a path not yet traveled. A reminder that I want to change and grow into something I can be proud of.
I sit and smooth what is becoming a well worn page. My mind is churning out ideas of what could be the next story, and the next, and the next...