Rejection, Steps and Time

As you may recall, I submitted two short stories away to places earlier this year. Somewhat predictably, they both came back rejected or “unsuccessful” as was so diplomatically put in the letter. The kind tone was greatly appreciated because rejection sucks. We all know it and we’ve all been on the receiving end of it for one reason or another. It is one of those things that we must accept, pick ourselves up from, and just carry on.

I said before that the first step was the hardest. As it turns out, I was actually right. One of those stories has already been submitted elsewhere. That particular submission is probably a major case in punching above one’s weight but trying is the only thing that gets results. Thanks to taking that first step, I managed to take a second and without even half of the anxiety and dithering of the first. I’m taking those steps toward my dream of being published and keeping up the momentum.

Sending short stories for submission though is just the first in a long list of things I hope to achieve, writing wise. The end game is the accepted novel. The trouble with novels though is that they are big and eat more time than I can eat Malteasers (that’s a lot). I sent book one of my main project off to beta readers this year, at the end of February. It’s really easy to trick myself into thinking that I’m way behind, that I should be far further through this next draft than I am. What I’ve done though is go through all my beta feedback and carefully construct a game plan. Novels are big, slippery beasts and they need time and revisions need plans. I need to remind myself (and possibly you) that creating a publishable novel is a marathon, not a race.

Events like NaNoWriMo can give writers a fantastic head start – but that’s all it is. Taking the easy bit running. Then comes the hard graft and even then everyone works at different rates. I’m slow. Really slow. I also like to work on side projects to keep my creativity fresh and prevent burnout. It works for me, and after this year’s NaNo I am ready and raring to tackle revisions some more.

I just need to sit back sometimes and remind myself that this is a long game, and that being “slow” isn’t the same as being behind.

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One response to “Rejection, Steps and Time

  1. Those first couple of rejections are tough. Hell, the first fifty are tough, but it does get easier, and you can get to a point where the odd form rejection doesn’t even faze you. By the way, you did the right thing. You’ve already submitted one of the rejected stories somewhere else. That’s the best medicine for rejection, in my opinion.

    Keep in mind, there’s a bunch of reasons a story can get rejected that have nothing to do with your talent as a writer. A lot of it comes down to getting the right story in front of the right editor at the right time. Most of the successful authors I know–those who publish stories and magazines on a fairly frequent basis–hover around the ten percent mark in terms of an acceptance/rejection ratio. That’s a miss every nine out of ten times, which can certainly be demoralizing until you finally accept it for what it is: normal.

    Hang in there, and keep writing.

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