When I was in Langara enrolled in the Media Writing and Communications Program in the late 1990’s, I created a fictitious newsletter called Body Bag; a collection of interviews and events for mystery writers. The feature story was about a 96 year old writer named Adele Marmalade who had been trying to get herself published for 81 years.

“Publishers don’t like me” she said. “They think my writing is too grotesque. But I will not sacrifice my creativity and sell out!”

She began writing mystery stories to entertain her 14 younger brothers and sisters while they sat around the fire on her familyís farm in Saskatchewan.

When interviewed, Adele had just finished her latest novel I can See you out there and I’m going to Kill you, a collection of short stories of various stalkers in small Canadian communities, and was waiting to hear back from Shark Cartilage Publications I never did find out what happened after that.

I, too, have never been published.

Now, I know that my writing is not in the grotesque category, so it has to be something else. Is it not polished enough? Interesting enough? Do I need more experience writing? Or perhaps I just haven’t submitted enough? All of the above I suspect, but last December, when I began to feel dejected, I realized I had only ever sent out four stories. This didn’t even warrant a spreadsheet.

So, instead of continuing to mope, I was infused with energy and submitted stories to various literary magazines, both online and print. I took advantage of sites such as A Place for Writers, kept my eye out for the various emails I received about contests and publications looking for stories. I’ve ordered The Canadian Writers’ Contest Calendar (thanks Jan Redford, for including this in your blog tip on the TWS web site!). I reread The Writer’s Studio Guide to Publishing in Literary Magazines and Entering Contests.

Like many writers, I write because I feel the need to. Is this a way of justifying my not being published? Maybe, but I’ll still be writing no matter what happens.

That and I have many more years until I’m in Adele Marmalade’s position.

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