How does your work first enter the world? Do you have a social group or writers group that you work ideas and poems with?
I used to be on a critiquing site but I really made a conscious decision to stop submitting to critique. Some people thrive on criticism. I am a naturally insecure person, and while I was on the site, I would have work up on the site that was published and really ruthless critiques coming in saying to me: “Who would read this? Give it up” coupled with one right behind it that would say something over the top ridiculously flattering like “You will be taught in schools one day.” And while it’s nice to get the super bump of confidence from the latter, I would at times, because I’m shy and insecure, want to give up entirely from the hate. It wasn’t helping me.
I used to cry to an editor friend, Nadia from Moonchild Magazine, who is the most patience maternal, nurturing person. She gave me the courage to say, “This critique is not useful to me. I don’t have to do this.” And so I moved away from that. I’ve been lucky because I write and publish a lot to work with some editors who really take on the editor mantle, guide you, give you feedback whether they are choosing to publish you or not. I love this. It reminds me of graduate school which I did not complete and regret. I feel when I get the privilege of working with a really professional, good editor, I am back in school again. And I’m a forever schoolgirl, so I like that a lot. It doesn’t mean I always agree or take the advice, but I like the dialogue, and sometimes when you do, something magical happens. I had that experience recently with Kolleen Carney at Drunk Monkeys. She gave me a little push that resulted in an improved poem, and I value those experiences.