Taking Chances

Today’s guest blogger is Emily Rogan, whose post is a testament to what can happen when you take a chance.

Nothing thrills me more, as a writer, than to see my work published. I get all tingly over every byline – no matter how small the piece. Imagine, then, just how giddy I was last week when Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart: 28 True Stories of Love, Loss and Everything in Between was released — with my essay in it!

Essay writing is a passion for many writers, but markets are limited, and it can be frustrating to find homes for essays. This book was born from several discussions about that subject; Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart is a true labor of love.

Truth is, I was shocked to find out my submission had been chosen for the project. When there was a call for entries over two years ago, I almost ignored it, believing (as I typically do) that my work wasn’t good enough—that I wasn’t the “right” caliber of writer. In the end, I submitted two essays and then waited for the rejection. Even though I’ve been writing practically my entire life and professionally for almost 15 years, I still don’t put myself in the same class as most of the writers I know. They’ve published entire books and meaty investigative stories in national publications. They write award-winning blogs and have agents. Me? Not so much. So imagine my shock and excitement when I was told that my essay would be published alongside the work of some of the finest writers I know. Out of 100 submissions, mine was included in the final 28!

I had no prior experience with book publishing, but I know this project was unique in that it took shape via volunteer committees: selection, editing, marketing and sales, just to name a few. Everyone, chairperson or committee member, is a writer. Beverly Burmeier chaired the content selection committee. Denise Schipani headed the editing group. (The amazingly talented & prolific Andrea Collier King was my kind editor who had surprisingly little changes to my piece. She also has an essay in the book.) Amy Paturel, my essay-writing guru (she runs a fabulous online essay writing class) masterminded the project and, in the end, was responsible for the beautiful, inviting cover. Jennie Phipps, who runs Freelance Success, brought it all together. And there were countless others who gave generously of their time to breathe life into this book.

The book’s theme explores relationships of all kinds – families, friends, lovers, life changers and pets. My piece is about my dad, who died shortly before I gave birth to my son. My father was a hairdresser (that was before we started calling them “stylists”), and the essay explores how we found common ground when he cut and colored my hair. I wrote the first draft of the essay many years ago, and reworked it again and again until it evolved into the published version. So in many ways, Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart holds special meaning to me. It not only thrills me as a writer, but as a daughter.

Emily Rogan is an award-winning writer who covers education, health and wellness, fitness and family topics. She’s written about everything from integrating technology into the classroom to organic beer and cardio kick-boxing. Her work has been published in Cooking Light, Woman’s Day, Newsday as well as several other national and regional publications. Emily is a member of American Society of Journalists and Authors.


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