An Open Letter of Gratitude to The Editors of The Publications I Value Most
I was struck with the idea for this post some time last week and knew it was one I’d eventually pursue. While I’m big on gratitude, I’m not good at the mushy stuff. We weren’t encouraged to talk about our feelings in my house growing up, it was understood they were meant to be swept under the rug, not expressed publicly using the written or spoken word. My Dad’s Irish, he can’t help it.
Then yesterday, Michelle Okafor posted this wonderful gem and I knew I had to write this. I’m really big on reading the signs the universe throws at you and the combination of having written down the idea for this story and then reading Michelle’s post was enough to propel me into action. I’m actually tagged in a story like Michelle’s, thanking me for my work or having inspired someone on a basis that still surprises me. I don’t say that to brag but instead to thank each and every one of you, knowing what I do matters to others is honestly what drives me.
While the gratitude I have for my readers and regular supporters is practically without parallel, I can’t help but acknowledge how many of those readers may have never even discovered my work if it wasn’t for the editors of the publications who have not only accepted me as a writer but have helped me become a better one along the way.
I reckon I’m a half decent writer but I’m also not always easy to deal with. I’m impatient and obsessive. If I don’t hear back from an editor 48 hours after submitting something to a publication, I have a bad habit of emailing them and inquiring about its status like it’s amateur night at the Apollo. Though, this is something I’ve vowed to myself to work on and must say I’ve made progress towards practicing something that at least resembles patience.
Despite my bad habits, lack of professionalism and virtue of patience regarding submissions at times — the editors at these wonderful publications have always treated me with nothing but kindness and the utmost respect.
Their dedication, hard work and drive truly inspires me. To watch DiAmaya Dawn build her publication Lit Up, from the ground up has truly been remarkable as well as motivating. It’s growth and the brilliant stories being published by her and it’s numerous other talented writers daily has been an incredible thing to see and I’m honored to be a contributor. Building a publication is no easy task but she’s doing a fantastic job and it shows.
Put quite simply, I don’t know where I’d be on this platform if it wasn’t for Steve Campbell, Melissa Berdine and all of the support I’ve gotten from the loyal readers of The Ascent. From the time I got here Steve and Melissa made me feel like my work has true value and have given it a place to call home. Not only that but I find their story and journey thus far super inspiring. To go from working at VaynerMedia for the colossal content king Gary Vaynerchuk himself, to deciding to start their own shop up speaks to their ambition and shows anything is possible. Steve has started a podcast for The Ascent as well, a platform and venture I’ve always been interested in since I discovered comedian Bill Burr’s over five years ago. I’d like to eventually start my own podcast and publication and Steve & Melissa have shown me it’s possible. Their hard work has helped The Ascent acquire a following of just about 36,000 and has put it in the top 100 publications here on Medium. I know the sky is the limit for them and can’t wait to see where the future takes them. It’s truly an honor to be apart of it.
Though I haven’t been contributing as often as I once was, The Creative Cafe is still one of my favorite publications on this platform — both as a reader and a writer. I have started submitting work to the cafe again and it’s like I never left. Jake’s prompts have helped produce what I consider to be some of my best work. He’s always been accepting and encouraging of my creative writing pieces, work I wasn’t even sure what to categorize it as or what to do with. Was it poetry? Was it prose? Who knows but Jake gave it a home and made me feel it had value. For that, I’m truly grateful. There was a time, my goal every week was to have one of my stories featured in his weekly newsletter every Thursday or Friday. His honorable mentions were truly motivating. I look forward to getting back to contributing on a much more regular basis.
I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t thank Erika Sauter and her publication Hopes and Dreams for Our Future, one that will forever hold a spot close to my heart. Erika was kind enough to reach out to me sometime last September complimenting my work and said she’d love to have me as a contributor to the publication. She’s been extremely responsive and accepting of submissions and we’ve also had wonderful discussions via email. She’s no doubt helped me become a better writer through those discussions and exchanges as well. On top of being a fantastic editor for a publication I love, she’s also one of my favorite writers here on Medium. If you haven’t checked out her work, I highly recommend doing so. She also runs a heart warming photo collection at The Crazy Cat Lady Photo Blog, one that helps brighten up gloomy Mondays such as today. Thank you for all you are and all you do Erika, never stop being you!
Last but certainly not least (especially since he pays me), though he’s not here on Medium, a very special thanks goes out to Russ Smith over at www.splicetoday.com. I discovered the site through a recommendation from another writer here on Medium, in a post that highlighted publications outside of Medium who pay writers for anything they publish. Though the majority of my submissions have been accepted and published by Splice, when something doesn’t work, Russ is brutally honest about why but him doing so has helped improve my writing as well as my approach to it. He accepted the first thing I ever sent him and paid me for it, boy was I flying high that day. Taking that check into Wells Fargo to cash it was truly a proud moment for me, it made me feel like I was legit and had arrived. But his constructive criticisms have helped keep me grounded. It’s a perfect balance. Submitting to Splice helps me overcome fear of rejection and helps me develop a more professional etiquette. When Russ tells me something doesn’t work, I take his feedback into consideration, take a good hard look at what he turned down, make any improvements I deem necessary and re-purpose and publish it here on Medium. I’m beyond grateful to Russ and Splice Today, you’re helping a struggling writer keep the lights on over here.
Like I said, I’m not good at the weepy warm hearted stuff but I couldn’t help but take the time out to write this to express my gratitude to these fantastic publications and their editors who have helped me progress. I truly look forward to continuing to work with you all moving ahead and can’t wait to see where the future may bring us. I believe in Medium’s mission with everything in me as well as all of you, as you do me. Thanks for everything.