After a particularly bad week for writing which consisted of numerous pieces being rejected, I realized that the biggest requirement for a starting writer is a thick hide. Most of these were routine – ‘Thank you, but after consideration it does not meet our needs of our time.’ There was one nice rejection, that first said I had not followed instructions (Bad Writer!) and while it had potential, it needed more work.
‘Pride of authorship’ was seen as a danger when I was a bureaucrat because you knew changes were sometimes being made just for the purpose of making change. It was often a power thing for higher staffs or the dreaded gatekeeper – the Secretary to the General Staff. Even as an academic, you knew when submitting a paper or presenting at a conference, comments were made just because people could. I have to admit I was one of those types at the few conferences I attended.
However, as a brand new writer, I can only afford so much pride. Yes, I think I write good and interesting stories. Yes, I think other people will enjoy my stories. Those that have been published either in anthologies or on Spillwords have gotten nice reviews and comments. But how far do you go?
The answer is as far as you want.
One of my stories “The Lake House” had been rejected by about a dozen publications until it was finally accepted by the Northern Colorado Writers Anthology “Rise” which will be published this Fall. Not only accepted, but I will be paid for it (my first check). Some of the rejections this week were not for the primary market but because I had a story and felt confident in them (after I checked about simultaneous publication, reprints and whether I owned the rights).
So, for any of my fellow neophyte writers who are following or come across this blog post, I offer the best advice I ever got for any point in my multiple careers – Just Do It! Or as Neil Gaiman puts it —
“The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked…that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”
And if you want to have reasons to pat yourself on the back, here are a few reasons – “Setting Self Doubt on Fire: Pat yourself on the back“