Saturday, May 21, 2011

They can't tell you "no" if you didn't ask

Ah the joy of rejection. Just checked my e-mail to find a thanks but no thanks. A long time ago I used to get really bummed out when a story was passed on. These days I think of it as proof that I'm trying.

When I was in college at ECU, the best teacher I ever had, Luke Whisnant, brought in a shoebox full of little slips of paper. He passed it around and had us all look through his little box of rejection. There were form letters, letters with handwritten notes, letters with just "NO" written across the top...all sorts of "thanks but no thanks."

His reason for bringing this in was to show us that all writers get rejected on their road to publication. Every no in that box was an attempt.

If you're not getting rejected then you're not really trying. Now, that's not to say that I don't feel a flicker of disappointment when a magazine I thought might take one of my stories doesn't, but it's just a flicker. I don't take it as evidence that the story isn't worthy and that I'm no good at this thing.

Luke found homes for all those stories. All those the magazines that where represented in that box were just names of places that didn't jump at the chance to be part of his resume. And that's ok.

It's ok for me too. One magazine down, hundreds to go.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

To cast or not to cast

I asked a writer friend of mine once how she had gotten so much in print so fast. Of course, her work is amazing and deserves to be printed. But alot of folks are good writers and yet their stuff never sees the light of day.

She said, in words that I'm paraphrasing, that she cast a big net. She submitted like it was going out of style and she had a shit load of it left. Her advise though, was to be careful. She said she had gotten some things printed that in hindsight, she wasn't thrilled with. Whether she meant the story or the publication (likely some of both) I don't know.

But of late, I've tried to take this to heart a bit. I have a tendency to let time get away from me. I will look back over a submissions list and see that it's been nearly a year since I sent out "this" and even longer since I sent out "that."

I've been making myself put ass to chair and read and research and send things out. I've gotten a couple of things printed this that i've been submitting (randomly) for a long time and one that I had just finished.

Thanks to the popularity of online submitting, I've gotten loads more out than when it cost paper, ink, and postage.

But, as I edit an online journal myself and therefore, only take electronic subs myself--I see the downfall here as well. It's darn easy to cast a line with the wrong bait on it.

When I was putting out money to print and send, I was careful about how I used those funds. Since online it free, it's tempting to just send your stuff out everywhere and see what happens. This can be a dangerous thing. And what a pain in the ass for the editors.

I see that in my own journal. I get alot of great stuff and alot of stuff that was cast out in a big net with no thought. It overloads my inbox and makes it hard to give everyone the through read that they deserve.

So my advise, find a happy medium. Don't let time get away from you. Submit and then submit again. Take youre time and make good choices. Dont' contribute to mass mailing and overloaded editors. What's it's costing you could be a chance to be read and published.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Midlife Crisis and loving it

I'll be 40 in less than a year. Midlife crisis time, eh? Should I buy a sports car or date a younger man? I don't think my husband would approve of either of those. So instead I had another baby, quit my job, and decided to focus full time on promoting my husband's biz and my own writing career.

Life is full of new beginnings--and thank God for it. How boring would this all be without those twist and turns.

I've had two stories come out this month. One in Saltwater Quarterly and one in
Quite Curious Literature. Check out those two markets.

I'm full steam ahead with Blue Lotus Review and proud to say that we're on our third issue.

I'm enjoying the time to connect with my children and to make writing my full time job (along with laundry and dinner and the garden and the dishes, and .... )

I couldn't be happier. And besides, I can't fit three kids in a sports car.