A writer is an artist with words. A writer paints pictures on a lexical tapestry. A writer grabs a moment of time on the stage of life and describes it to us in ways we may not have seen had we looked. A writer is a storyteller, a healer, a grammatical physician; they evoke emotion and the ability to deal with things in life or to see another view of the existential.
A writer bears their soul to the world, hoping to touch someone. They are brave, often neurotic, and conversely, they are often shy, introverted beings that shake hands with society through their words.
We’re humbled to once again make the list of The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2018. The list is categorized by the various functions of each blog—their specialty. The Write Life had several classifications for the blogs that made the list: Blogging, Editing, Publishing, Podcasts, Creative, Freelancing, Marketing, and Writing Communities. We were listed under Writing Communities.
This made me think about our mission here, our audience, and our tagline: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing. We love to win awards and gain recognition. The important question: do we providing interesting, fresh, and useful content for our readers?
My dear friend and partner Marilyn L. Davis, our Assistant Editor, is a master with titles. I give credit where it’s due. She came up with our tagline. Moreover, it fits with our descriptor according to The Write Life as a “Writing Community.”
What is A Writing Community?
I sat and thought about the attributes of a writing community. I began to realize that we have broadened that phrase. Most people think of a writing community like a local writers group. We are similar to that; we see a vibrant discussion in the posts we publish, but we are more than that.
If we publish a post that gets one like and no comments, this’s feedback. It’s telling us that we didn’t hit the mark, or the writer needs to work a bit more on their skills. I take some of the blame as Editor-in-Chief because I make the final decision about publication.
I try to be as objective as possible, and often, I’ve published works that may not have made the cut at other blogs or e-zines. That said, I do so because of my love for writers and my own personal experience. In the publishing industry, I’ve been a writer, an author, and an editor for a small press. I empathize with all of these roles.
I learned that many writers get lost in the wind tunnel that is the editorial review process. At most print publications and online blogs, anthologies, and magazines, writing submitted for publication gets reviewed by assistant editors, or, sometimes, an intern. They all know (it’s their job to know) what the editor likes and may find acceptable to publish. Because of the huge amount of submissions that most larger sites and presses receive, reviewers will read a few sentences—literally—and if it doesn’t grab them, it hits the trash can.
Objective vs. Subjective
Many editors claim objectivity; however, my experience is that most are the opposite—subjective. For example, so much of our society has become politicized. I’ll be frank, if you’re a Christian conservative, you will face more scrutiny than other belief systems in the publishing industry. Stick with me, I’m making a point.
Let me indulge, if I may, with a personal story:
Last year, I had a major essay approved for publication. It was with a large college in the North East. I submitted an academic essay addressing the shocking attacks against The First Amendment on our “Public” –very important emphasis on public—college campuses.
The essay was reviewed by four Ph.D.’s, and their editorial reviews were astonishingly genteel. I’ve had reviews before, and these made my heart sing. To have four Ph.D.’s compliment my writing and ask for very few edits before publication was extraordinary, to say the least. Only one was curt about a few areas of the essay. I was elated.
As I worked to finish the essay and make the deadline, I received a letter from the editor that she was leaving the journal; a new editor would be contacting me to finish the project. My heart sunk. I wrote her back and asked if she thought the change might present any issues. Would the new editor continue with my publication? She assured me everything was already approved pending a quick review of the edits I was asked to make.
A month later, I received an email from the new editor. He asked me to rewrite most of the essay which was time sensitive because it involved a current event at a university in the mid-West. I asked him how he could do this when the reviewers had already approved my work. He said, “I saw their reviews.” Long story short, I ended up pulling the submission because of his extreme bias against my subject. This was another lesson in my life about subjective editors blocking what may have been a well received and interesting essay. I’m biased, but hey, it was already approved for publication.
Let me circle back to my main point. Writers, even some very novice writers, deserve a more in-depth look before a decision is made about whether their work is worthy of publication. Also, I think it’s vital that we publish essays, poetry, and other writings that have a premise or ideals with which we don’t agree.
Two Drops of Ink has published writers from all walks of life. Many are from different countries with varying religious or political views. I’m proud of that fact. That’s what a writing community should look like. It’s the only way to collaborate with other writers, authors, and bloggers. If we only publish what we agree with, then how can we reach a broader audience?
I normally don’t talk about my personal views, but for the purposes of this post, I will tell you that I’m a Christian and political conservative, yet, I will publish works with strong language, religious beliefs that I don’t agree with, or from people I might never interact with on a personal level. Why? Because our audience is diverse, and I believe in The First Amendment. I also believe in individual sovereignty and one’s right to say and believe as they wish. This is the heart of liberty and free speech.
Come Join Us
I hope my little rabbit trail of personal anecdotes helped you to better understand the site’s philosophies about writers and publishing. I’m willing to take a chance on any writer that has an interesting message, even if they have some serious grammatical flaws. In those cases, I give writers a chance to revise and resubmit. Do we reject some—absolutely, we, like other publications, get the occasional crackpot (laughing); yet, we have broken some very talented writers that at first glance were less than polished. That’s a writers community. That’s the way to help writers gain exposure through collaboration.
We have a very disparate group of contributing writers on our blog. Some hold advanced degrees. Some have little-to-no formal education. Others are widely published, prolific writers. That’s a writers community. That’s collaboration. That is how we conjoin audiences and produce a win-win for all involved.
We Thank You
In closing, we at Two Drops of Ink want to thank every reader, follower, and contributor to this site. To those of you that read and never comment, maybe because you’re shy, we thank you. To our regulars that comment all the time, we thank you. Finally, to all the great writers, both our monthly contributors and those that have only submitted one post—thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing
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