So this weekend I took some time to submit a few more stories out to lit mags this weekend. This was long overdue as I have been avoiding this particular chore lately in favor of actual writing and editing. This is one of the challenges of trying to be a writer and hold down a day job -- there just really aren't enough hours in the day. Of course I am sure this could be said for any number of creative endeavors and let me say, I sympathize with any artist who is not yet able to pay the rent with his or her art. I'm right there with you!
At any rate, my point is that if you actually want to see yourself in print, the to-do list goes well beyond "Write Brilliant Story". It is followed by "Edit Brilliant Story -- (repeat as needed)" and finally, "Send Brilliant Story Out to Be Crushed Repeatedly Until Someone Recognizes Said Brilliance and Gives It A Home". This last step is in some ways the hardest. Sure, writing and editing is challenging and not for the faint of heart, but as long as no one but you reads those early drafts, there is no risk. You still have the right to shred the whole thing and forget it ever existed. No one will ever know! But once you share it with someone, then you open yourself up for criticism. Or worse, the dreaded, nonspecific response of, "It's nice. I liked it." Sending it out to editors is even worse because most of the time you have no idea WHY they are rejecting you, aside from the universal "It wasn't a good fit." And it is a given that anything you send out there is going to be rejected at least a handful of times before someone falls in love with it. Usually a lot more than a handful. You have a lot of talented competition out there, and it takes patience and bulletproof skin to keep at it.
So yeah, sometimes I take a break from putting myself out there, justifying it to work on getting more stuff up to publishable quality. But I can't take too long of a break or I risk not going back. So this weekend, I cozied up to my Duotrope's Digest account and sent little pieces of my soul out into the cruel, cruel world. My reward? Less than three hours after sending a piece out to a lit mag that shall remain nameless, I received a rejection claiming it had been read carefully, but just wasn't right for them at this time. But hey, it's okay. They are just doing what they do, and I will keep doing what I do. Eventually one will be an acceptance and that makes it all worthwhile.
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