Guest Post: A Résumé’s a Résumé No Matter How Small by Kiana Donae

My first job was selling shaved ice during one summer I visited my dad in Tennessee. The business was based out of a small trailer home off one of the main streets. The cash register, shaved ice machine, and all the syrups and supplies were crammed into one small bedroom of a home and we used the sliding window as the ordering/pickup counter. I remember working maybe four hours each shift and a total of 15-20 hours for the week. At fifteen I was super excited I was earning my “own” money. The job lasted a month or so before I was on my way back home to Michigan with my mom and siblings. It was the start of my life in the working world and the first job I got to put down under my experience section.

Just like in the working world, writers should have a résumé or curriculum vitae of their experience and education that only pertains to their writing. I have one in spite of its size. When I sat down to write my résumé a couple of years ago I didn’t have much. In fact, all I had was one self-published collection of poetry and a five star review from Reader’s Favorite for that collection. A start perhaps, small indeed.

I’ve never been a big risk taker. Submitting to lots of journals and magazines isn’t something I do often. Super shy, I’m not one to go stand on stage for open mics either. So how was my résumé supposed to grow? Would mine ever look like other writers’ long lists of experience?

I could set out and start submitting to every magazine, journal, and contest across the land. I could start venturing outside my comfort zone and try spoken word or readings. I could have done lots of things to grow my résumé quickly. I didn’t. I’m a wife and mom first, a poet second. I write in between homework, housework, and my graphic design business I do from home. So I continued life as I always do. Every writer has their own set of goals for what they want their writing to be. For me, I just like sharing my poetry with others. There was no rush on how quickly I needed to grow my résumé so I was able to take my time in doing so.

Maybe I’ve taken the long route. My résumé has mostly grown very organically. Instead of submitting to lots of magazines and journals, I’ve been more diligent in picking where I submit. A few magazines like BFLM, another completed collection of poetry self-published, some guest blogging, a commissioned piece, and an entry into a local art institute rounds out my résumé now. It may not be pages and pages long, but each spot on my résumé is special to me. And for me that is enough. That makes my résumé unique and all my own. After all, a résumé’s a résumé no matter how small.


Kiana DonaeKiana Donae is the author of two poetry collections, Love & Ink (2014) & Love & Ink Vol.2: Reflections (2015). Her poetry has appeared in I Am Not A Silent Poet (a blogzine), Second Sight/Insight II art exhibit (Kalamazoo Institute of Art), Black Fox Literary Magazine, ME! Newsletter (Hampton Publishing House, LLC), and HoneyBeNatural (a magazine). She lives in a small town in Southwest Michigan with her family. Please visit her website for more information about her poetry at or follow her on Twitter & Instagram: @poetkianadonae

You can read Kiana’s poem “In and Out: A Tribute to Maya Angelou” in Black Fox Issue 11.

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