I started writing with the intent of being published at the age of 19. I chose poetry. I was a lazy writer. I never learned about dedication to the craft and persistance, much less belief. I knew I was a decent writer. When the inspiration hit, the work came quickly. At times, I could write and complete a poem within ten minutes!
One of my failings as a writer, is that I am my own worst critic. When I began in the poetry genre, I knew it was bascially a dead horse on the market. So I moved to the short story format. I could also finish a piece in this genre. When it came to writing long prose, the ideas came fairly easily and I would type over 200 pages before giving up. I was judging the work solely on the merits of a very rough first draft. I am not sure why I behaved so irrationally, unless it was because I may have thought anything I wrote had to be perfect from the beginning. I don't really know but am glad I got over it--even if it did take 20 years!
As for my poetic endeavors, some did get published. Several large and prestigious university presses included them in their annual anthologies (but I never received a cent much less a free copy of the books). The greatest honor came first. I was planning on copyrighting each poem until I was informed of the cost. Someone suggested I put it in a book anthology and pay one fee for all my poems. I came up with the title Broken Windows. I submitted the work and the payment. Later, after the work was copyrighted, The Library of Congress asked me for permission to publish the poems in audio form for their sight impaired visitors. This was a public service and I was to receive no renumeration. The money didn't matter. The honor gave my sagging ego a tremendous boost.
Several people who have seen some of poems on "The Den", felt I should return to this format. When I wrote a book, I always used song lyrics at the beginning of each chapter that gave insight into what was about to be read. When I completed "Fill My Eyes", I discovered getting copyright permission to publish these lyrics was impossible. ASCAP and BMI and others, requested far too much. Several charged a large fee. I removed the lyrics and wrote my own poems for each chapter. And it was not easy. The inspiration was irratic and the work was more difficult. The days of instant poetry had become a vague memory. It took time, but I managed to write fairly decent stanzas as headers for each chapter (many have been published here on The Den).
To write a new volume of verse is impossible. I have either lost the flair, the brain cells, or it may be due to the fact that I have learned dedication to the craft, after so many years of bitter self-criticism. So my friends, this wonderful genre will not be one I will ever explore fully in book form. I am also totally caught up in the fictional novel.
My sincere thanks to the readers and writers of The Authors Den for their generous comments. I almost feel like I am someone important in this world. It has certainly been a constant source of inspiration. I have hit every free site on the net to pre-promote and promote my novel, until I had tapped out every resource. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the reception I have received here. I look forward to hearing from you and sharing your comments and thoughts. I want to become a very active member of this wonderful and supportive community.
Blessing and much success in your writing endeavors.
Terry D. Robertson
Author of "Fill My Eyes"