Now that I’ve begun submitting to literary journals, I’ve realized the process of writing cover letters and short, third-person bios can be an exercise in humility.
It can be a bit disheartening to read the stacked list of magazines and contests (i.e. Scholastic, YoungArts, [blank] Journal, [blank] Review) in so many fellow writers’ bios and then turn to your own bare, desolate bio.
I mean, I don’t think even now I’ve come to fully acknowledge my identity as a writer. It’s one thing to have the awareness that you’ve got decent chops at writing and another to actually come fact-to-face with that monolithic-slab of a word called “writer.” It’s a word I’ve always approached with not so much reverence but caution, hesitation. It’s a word that almost has this pretentious ring to it, that reminds me of tweed jackets and expensive coffee and horn-rimmed glasses (I hope I don’t sound arrogant or snooty for saying that. If you wear a tweed coat and horn-rimmed glasses and drink expensive coffee this is by no means targeting you).
It’s probably more so the fact that I don’t feel qualified to call myself a writer. Which I feel the immediate answer to that would be “You don’t need awards or magazine publications to call yourself a writer,” but then there’s my love-hate relationship with writing and lately I feel the hate part has been crowding too closely the love side. I’m not one of those people who keep mounds of Microsoft docs stuffed with ideas or scribble daily in a little notebook. I can’t write fiction and I’ve only recently begun experimenting with poetry. Heck, the only form of writing where I’m totally comfortable is journaling. That, and creative nonfiction because I guess it’s journaling but rehashed in a prettier way.
I honestly just admire people who can write so much and so well, people who can just sit down and hack out a piece. It’s a bit comforting to know at least that they must all once had to deal with bare, desolate bios too. Gosh… sometimes I wonder if I have an inferiority complex….
Anyways, that’s what has been on my mind lately. In a world where we’re pressured so often to put on a face, especially as a high school junior about to nose-dive into college applications season, I thought I’d just be honest with you.
Until next time,