I believe the first thing I ever had published was a letter to the editor of my small town newspaper. I was a child and someone ran over my cat and didn’t stop. I was so angry ! (and hurt) and those feelings came out in my letter. I was told by an adult in the house to send it, if I wanted to, but no one would publish that. I stubbornly stuck a stamp on it and sent it off and a few days later we read that letter in the Letters to the Editor section. It made me feel better and I hoped whoever hit my cat felt bad after they read it.
Yesterday I got my Sept/Oct issue of Poets and Writers Magazine. I read something in it that made me angry. I just fired off a letter to that editor and we’ll see if it gets published. I imagine they have many, many comments to choose from, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I sent it.
I went ahead and put it in my “submissions” folder as well. I see that’s a thin folder right now. I need to submit more.
Another time I wrote a letter to the editor of the Durham NC newspaper in reply to their article about why teachers are leaving public schools. I was fired up that day too, as I was one of the teachers who was resigning. I showed that letter to my middle son who said, “send it”. And that day, like today, all it took was a push of a button (key) to send it on its way.
I got a call from that editor who said they’d received my letter and would like to use it as a “guest column”. Was that all right with me? And could I come in and have a headshot done? I said it was fine, and I’d recently had the picture that is posted on this blog taken, so I sent that to them.
I kept watching for the column, but the school secretary saw it that morning before I did. She came running into my classroom and showed it to me. She was surprised. She asked if I wrote that??? I told her, yes, I did. (I also used it when I filed for unemployment. Yes, I quit, but I quit for cause. It was one of my pieces of evidence.)
But you never know when or what you will get published until you write it and send it off.