Two Drops of Ink: Your Other Library

By: Marilyn L. Davis

Let’s Build a Library for our Readers

 

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” ― Voltaire

Titles and content usually have a backstory that doesn’t always make it into a post. While many people relate that to fictional characters, there’s a story behind this post.

Scott Biddulph has been a friend for over 25 years, and about four years ago, we’d sit and lament the plight of authors and writers. We tried not to internalize rejection of our work as a rejection of ourselves. At that time, I’d recently finished a 400,000-word recovery curriculum and after 16 weeks of meetings with the director, staff, selected clients, and the judge of a drug court, the director told me,“While it’s wonderful, has compelling information, and is correct, we think the vocabulary is too extensive for some of our clients.”

There had been no mention of vocabulary in any of our discussion. I’d made the changes they asked for:

  • Extra white space
  • Updated charts and graphs
  • Tables in the colors the director wanted

I felt discouraged and frustrated. I’d jumped through their hoops, and there wasn’t a soft landing. I made change after change and still got rejected. Whether I was just stubborn, or correct, I would not change the vocabulary because I believed that all addicts and alcoholics needed to learn the words of recovery, just as we had to learn the language of addiction. Given that one piece of the curriculum was the TIERS Glossary of Recovery Terms, I thought that clients had a way to learn the new vocabulary. While the judge and the clients who were selected to determine the value of the curriculum sided with me on that, I lost the contract.

But, it did teach me a lesson. As the old saying goes, “Everyone’s a critic.” Were their changes necessary? Some were, some weren’t.

When It’s Time to Draw the Line

One day while looking for something else, I found this quote: “To enjoy and learn from what you read you must understand the meanings of the words a writer uses. You do yourself a grave disservice if you read around words you don’t know, or worse, merely guess at what they mean without bothering to look them up. For me, reading has always been not only a quest for pleasure and enlightenment but also a word-hunting expedition, a lexical safari.” Charles Harrington Elster

Elster understood me, whether we knew one another or not. It also prompted a conversation between Scott and me about bringing new words and meanings from other writers so we would be entertained, educated, and in the case of poets, enchanted.  Scott’s writing had also been rejected at that point, so we’d commiserate over coffee. But much to our credit, we didn’t complain or blame others. We both vowed to improve and keep plugging away at Two Drops of Ink. Certain ideas began to take shape.

Our philosophy developed over lattes and a laptop between us. Two Drops of Ink would: 

  1. Be open to publishing new, seasoned, or somewhere in-between writers.
  2. Communicate with all who submitted in a timely manner.
  3. Create an encouraging climate
  4. Develop a community of writers.
  5. Publish “how-to’s,” memoirs, grammar instruction, poetry, and essays.
  6. Look for the bones in the writing.
  7. Not make people jump through unnecessary hoops.
  8. Offer sound editing advice and see what the writer did with it by asking for a “revise and resubmit,” giving the writer another shot at publication.
  9. Publish a variety of genres.
  10. Respond to comments.
  11. Become an online library of good writing, whether advice, memoir, poetry, essay, or humor

Now that we had our absolutes, we launched several campaigns to attract new writers. We were certain that writers would flock to the site to submit a guest post. Perhaps we were naïve because the reality was that we had to prove ourselves, too.

We worked hard and did, but as we say in the south, “That’s all water under the bridge.”

Since we made those decisions, Two Drops of Ink has won awards, one in 2016, three in 2017, and five in 2018:

  1. The Best Writing Blogs for Writers Awarded by PositiveWriter.com
  2. The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2016 and 2017, respectively
  3. Top 100 Literary Blogs For Writers and Publishing Agents

Literary Library for You

With these awards, we’ve been able to satisfy many of our online library goals from the coffee shop. But beyond satisfaction for us, what’s in it for you?

We offer serious, funny, new, and seasoned writers, poets, memoirists, and essayists a forum for their writing. So, if you're looking to be entertained, grab a coffee and enjoy. Click To Tweet
  1. Struggling with your blog or writing? We offer Grammar Shorts, how-to’s on better writing, and advice about how to get noticed online.
  2. Not sure if you’re ready to start your blog? Our philosophy of collaborative writing means there’s room for you at Two Drops of Ink. Think about submitting today.
  3. Already have a published book, and you would like an additional platform to promote it? The Book Shelf is expanding and has room for your submission.
  4. Want recognition at an award-winning site? Our “Published Contributorspage will help you gain recognition for your post at Two Drops of Ink, as well as exposing your books, social media links, and website to our readers
  5. With various writing styles, tones, and voices, from our team, and published contributors, we decided to set aside two days for categories of writing. Hump Day Humor started because I was told that some sites don’t publish “funny posts.” How sad. We believe in entertaining as well as educating, so if you’re finding it difficult to publish humorous pieces, consider submitting.  Sunday Spotlight showcases contributors with two posts on Two Drops of Ink, further exposing your writing.
  6. Poets sometimes languish in journals that the average person doesn’t read. Sad, but true. Since Scott is a poet, and I have poet-envy, we’ve partial to poets. Rhyming, timing, and topic make the Wall of Poets a place to visit when you want imagery, inspiration, and insight.

We’re not finished yet…we’ll keep building the library with your help.

time for scott

Two Drops of Ink's library is open anytime you visit, day, night or somewhere in between. Click To Tweet

 


Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing

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9 comments

  1. Marilyn, I love you all at Two Drops of Ink. And I agree about leaving in the technical words. When we treat people like they’re smart, they rise to the occasion. In homeschooling circles, children usually have advanced reading and vocabulary skills because parents read real books to them. I discovered this while teaching my family. Thankfully, they turned out smarter than I will ever be. 🙂
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • Hi, Wendy. I also believe that when you give people the information and encourage them to learn, they do. What was ironic was that the people who supposedly weren’t “smart enough” to learn were the very ones who wanted the information so they could learn. Sometimes, we don’t pay attention to the people we’re trying to help thinking we know what’s best, when in fact, they should have a say as well. My 2 cents.

      In the end, without changing that component, and seeing the curriculum used elsewhere, that idea has been validated.

  2. Hi Marilyn, I’m glad you and Scott pressed on with your intentions to never stop writing. I’ve used this site as my own personal library since day one. Because of the privilege you two have provided for all of us. I found it necessary to submit some of my writing to keep my library card, so to speak, active. I’m thankful you all are here, otherwise I don’t think I would be writing. This place is contagious in a wordy way. Thanks for this motivational piece.

    • Hi, John. So are we. When one of us was discouraged, the other would step up and become the proverbial cheerleader. Thank goodness frustration didn’t happen for both of us on the same day. It’s been exciting to “discover” new writers, as well as give poets and seasoned writers an additional platform.

      Onward….

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