Getting Published in The Globe and Mail

Getting Published in The Globe and Mail juicygreenmom

I have been on a dizzying high for the past few days because my First Person essay, I struggled with my Chinese identity but I’m learning to change, was published in The Globe and Mail!

Over the last two years, I have been working on a non-fiction manuscript exploring internalized racism – in myself and in other racialized women that I interviewed. As I worked on the writing, I realized that I wanted to share it with a larger audience, which I knew I couldn’t do through self-publishing. I just don’t have the bandwidth to do all the things needed to make self-publishing successful. I went that route with my children’s book, Hunter’s Special Squawk, because it was what worked for us at the time.

I started learning more about the publishing world and realized quickly that in order to be taken seriously, I needed to have SOMETHING published – by a magazine or a newspaper or some other media that involved other people deeming my work worthwhile. The academic writing I had done as a graduate student and in my first job really didn’t apply. So I began exploring where I could submit short nonfiction pieces in hopes of getting picked up.

It’s a tricky business with submitting pieces because you don’t want to submit the same piece to every possible outlet. Some places frown on simultaneous submissions. But it’s also difficult to write a fresh piece for every single submission. I heard about The Globe and Mail‘s First Person column and pored over the submission requirements. I submitted via email on December 12, 2023 and hoped for the best. The website stated that successful submissions would typically be contacted in two months.

I submitted several pieces to a variety of publications from August to December, and heard nothing. I was prepared to get rejections. All the comments I heard from the writing community was that you had to get used to rejections. “You only need one yes” is the mantra of The Shit No One Tells You About Writing podcast (which had become my constant companion). I wasn’t prepared for the silence and the gaping abyss of unknowing. I just wanted to get rejected so I could have closure and move on. I debated over when I should start submitting the same pieces to other publications.

March 27, 2024 was the day the First Person editor emailed me to say, “You sent this in ages ago, and I’ve just rediscovered it in my inbox. If it it’s still available, we are interested in publishing it.” I SCREAMED. (My daughter wondered what was wrong with me.) My hands trembled as I scrolled through the email and contract, and I replied as quickly as possible to say YES YES YES.

April 2, 2024 was when I was informed it would be scheduled to run online on April 18 and then in print the following day. I would be contacted by an editor to review edits shortly. (EEEEEEEEEK! That’s so SOOON!)

April 3, 2024 I received an email from Micah Toub, a Features editor who was working on the piece (the usual editor was away), with the comment “Overall, I think it’s in solid shape – on top of being a very compelling topic!” I GLOWED with pride. He provided me with a word doc with suggested edits and we had a quick phone call so he could review them with me. I have to gush about how lovely he was. He asked if it was my first time being edited (by an official editor, yes it was) and explained the process very kindly. He went over his suggestions to ensure that they would still convey what I was trying to say. We went back and forth over email a few times and the final draft was ready by April 15.

I wasn’t sure what the title would be for my essay. I had originally submitted it as “I am a Racist Person of Colour” but had a feeling that came across too strong. The contract stated that they would write the headline. Also, an illustration would be commissioned for the piece and I had no idea what it would look like. I tried to stay calm and just live my regular life. When April 18 came around, I kept refreshing The Globe and Mail First Person page on my phone in between work visits and meetings. (Probably a good thing I had a busy day at my day job, otherwise I might have spontaneously combusted from the anticipation.) In the afternoon, I got in my car to go back home and I refreshed the page on my phone again. IT WAS THERE. IT WAS REAL. IT WASN’T A DREAM.

If you’re an emerging writer, you know the imposter syndrome is REAL. You put words together and you move them around and replace some and then it looks like a jumble of words. You don’t know if they even mean anything anymore. You don’t know if it’s complete shit or if it’s profoundly evocative. You feel you’re a writer at your core, but without some external validation, it’s hard to believe that. Getting my first acceptance email from The Globe and Mail was absolutely thrilling, but part of me was still expecting that somehow it would get cut. I wasn’t going to believe it was true until I saw my name there.

The next day, I was a bundle of anxiety as I went from store to store after work to try to find a copy of the newspaper to buy. (I haven’t purchased a newspaper in decades. I didn’t even know where to buy them anymore.) When I couldn’t find one in three stores, I went to my local library branch because I thought – at least I could look at it and take a photo. That was a whole thing (I already talked about it on my IG post.)

When I saw my name in print, in the newspaper, I was flooded with emotions. I wanted to scream, “That’s me!!!” The introvert (and model minority mindset – still struggling to let that go, let’s be honest) in me did not allow that kind of behaviour. I felt like a real person. Like the hours and emotions and intense self-scrutiny were finally proving that my name could be printed in a publication. My words meant something. My words were enough for someone to say, “Hey, other people should read this.”

I share this because I know there are countless writers out there in the same trenches. Every person’s journey is different, but it helps to hear that you’re not alone. That somewhere down the line, someone will like what you wrote, and that someone will be in a position to help you share it with the world.

In the coming weeks, I imagine my printed essay being used to line food scrap bins, wrap up wine glasses packed into moving boxes, and shredded into nesting material for small animals. And I am very content.

If you’re a writer, what has your journey been like?


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