Rejectomancy Made Easy

I’ll admit, I have a bit of a love-hate thing with the Submission Grinder. I love how easy it’s made it to keep track of my story submissions, and the market search, while not always perfect, has provided me with interesting new places to send my work.

The one problem I have is with their “Response Turnaround Chart.” Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great tool, and on occasion it’s helped me get a fairly good handle on when a response from a certain market is due. But when it looks like this:

Response Turnaround Chart w/ Market Name Blacked Out for Privacy

Response Turnaround Chart w/ Market Name Blacked Out for Privacy

That’s where the “hate” part comes in. I start to worry. See that little dot? That’s my story. The red lines are rejections. The green are acceptances. I’m not confident enough to assume that I’ll become one of the acceptances. But being beyond the range of their “normal” rejection times inspires a new paranoia. OMG! I’ll be the oldest rejection recorded for these guys. Ever!

Granted, this particular market doesn’t have a large number of responses recorded on the Grinder at this time, so the sample size is too small to really be jumping to such drastic conclusions. I shouldn’t be worrying, but I can’t seem to help it. I refuse to think about what that says about me.

Ironically, as I was typing up the last couple of paragraphs of this post, the response from this market arrived in my e-mail. A rejection. Please excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall a few dozen times. Ugh!

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Progress Report #1

Though only one month into the new year, I thought it would be a good idea to post where I am with my 2014 goals. Makes me feel like I have to be accountable for what I’m doing.

1. Finish 18 new stories.

Progress report: Completed 1 new short story in January. Also had to abandon 2 stories that just were not working. I also began Holly Lisle’s Flash Fiction course, in part because I’ve noticed that far too many of my stories are running long lately. Hopefully, by doing more flash, I’ll be able to keep up with this goal.

2. 100 short story submissions.

Progress report: I logged 7 submissions during January. If I keep up that pace, I’ll have just 84 at the end of the year. Need to pick up the pace.

3. Keep up with this blog and Twitter

Didn’t post at all in January, after the Resolutions were made. Need to work on that. Twitter has been a bit easier. Maybe a little too easy. Hours waste away while I read through my feed, even when I’m not actively posting.

Overall, I think it was a decent month. Should be interesting to see what February brings, since it’s such a short month.

How about you? How are you doing on your goals for this year?

The Hidden Power of Letter Writing

Anyone who follows me on Twitter has probably noticed that I love the Denver Broncos. I’ve been a die hard fan for twenty years. Through the McDaniels disaster, through the fanbase being taken over (and sometimes divided) by Tebow-mania, and last year’s ignominious defeat in the Divisional Round at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, I didn’t think there was anything that could shake my faith in my favorite team.

Until this year’s Super Bowl.

So many emotions. All negative.

Worst of all, I had no one to talk to about it. None of my friends are sports fans, and neither is my husband–to the point that he couldn’t understand why I was mad at him for putting the Seahawks logo on my desktop background. He thought it was just the best joke ever. Though I lurk on several fan-sites, I didn’t feel comfortable enough to post on any of them. If anything, being on those sites only made me feel worse. The anger and pain expressed by my fellow Broncos fans intensified mine.

Some retail therapy helped:

Stack of books = retail therapy

How a bookworm does retail therapy

But not completely. I also planned to get stinking drunk as soon as I got home.

Then for some reason, as I was returning from the bookstore, I remembered the feature I had seen about the handwritten letters Broncos QB Peyton Manning had sent to other players, and the impact those letters had. And in my head, I began to compose a letter of my own.

To Peyton, of course.

I know what you’re probably thinking. That it was an angry rant, never meant to see the light of day. And when I first put words down on paper, that’s what it was. But as I revised and rewrote that letter (by hand, not in the computer), it slowly evolved. It became something more. I no longer felt the need to drown my sorrows in booze. I could feel that my belief in my team and its players had only been temporarily shaken.

And I wanted him to know that.

I’m mailing that letter. I don’t expect a reply. I don’t even know if Peyton will read it. But it doesn’t matter. In a way, the letter has already done what I needed it to do. Writing it has helped my broken heart begin the healing process, and made me realize one very important fact.

I am a Denver Broncos fan. For better or worse, that will never change.