Saturday, November 30, 2013

Back to the Blog: Never Hold Your Best Stuff

This is the story of how I became a real writer, quit my job as a real writer, and realized (again) that I will always be a writer so long as I am writing. For your sake (also, let's face it, I'm trying to keep the drama at bay), I'm going to keep it brief.

For the past few months, I have been writing a weekly column about yoga for an online magazine. The editor of said magazine had reached out to ask me to be a contributor after reading the yoga posts on my blog and I nearly up and died of happiness. Seriously, it was a close one and I actually cannot believe that I am still here and able to write to you today because I was nearly dead at the thought of it. I've wanted to be a writer since I could hold a pencil and couldn't believe that a Real Live Editor wanted to pay ME to write. In my head at this point, by the way, I am frantically trying to decide what would be the most sensible location to start my book tour. Anyhow, we got the paperwork sorted and eventually we were live and I was writing, a Real Writer, just like I always wanted to be.

I submitted my first piece like a proud parent, carefully crafting, uploading and triumphantly smacking that send button and was admittedly a bit taken aback to see it edited down significantly "for length" and published without my approval. I brushed aside that nagging stinging feeling, told myself that it was just a matter of getting used to having an editor, that she was just doing her job, which was true. You guys were reading it and liking it! So that was fun, and I decided would get used to it - on to the next. The second piece was also sliced and diced and shortened, as was the third. The frustration built as I struggled to convince myself that the points I had included in the pieces were unimportant, knowing I didn't believe it to be true. And again, positive feedback, and again I swept the hurt under the rug.

After a thorough round of editing, I found the fourth piece to be completely unrecognizable in meaning and in tone. It was published after I forbade and even tearfully begged the editor not to do so, lest they publish sensationalist fluff under my name. This, of course, was the instant where I could choose to either throw a temper tantrum at the overt unfairness and (my opinion) horrendous editing and quit in an explosive show of fireworks, or choose to do and see and say and be something else.

It was tough, but I ended up going with option B and kindly explained that it was a liability to my career as a yoga teacher (ummm... also as a WRITER) to have my words edited and published without my approval. And that I would like to be released from my contract, please and thank you. And they agreed to, very graciously, and that was that.

Only that wasn't that, because I got all kinds of really nice feedback from my circle of friends, asking me to continue writing. So I am going to keep doing these posts as my schedule allows, trying to bring you an asana of the week (or some other yoga tidbit on a weekly basis) here on my own blog, my own little chunk of the tubes where I always have been, and always will be, a Real Writer.

I've reposted the four pieces here on the blog in their original versions, for your viewing pleasure.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga, Injury and YOU (this is the one that caused all the trouble)
The Warrior Poses, and Why They are Cool
Chaturanga: Seriously, You Can Do It
Downward-Facing Dog: A How-To

I'm also sharing this article, because it was sent to me by a friend as I was writing this post. If that ain't the universe trying to tell me something, I don't know what is. The late Peter Kaplan, on writing - from Clay Felker's obituary tribute.

There were Felkerian adages:
1. Never hold your best stuff.
2. Put something shocking at the top of the page.
3. Women are the best reporters.
4. Point of view is everything.
5. Personal is better.
6. Never hold your best stuff.

I will no longer be holding my best stuff. And I am going to be the filter, because I am fully capable of deciding what's good. And that's all I have to say about that.

2 comments:

  1. Awesome. Love the title.

    It's good to have your own place on the tubes.

    ReplyDelete

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