2014, The Year that Wasn’t — Or Was It?

When I first started thinking about writing this post, I was definitely focused on what I haven’t done. I didn’t send out a single submission to agents for my novel. I stopped writing short stories in the summer–at least, I stopped finishing stories. I wrote two first drafts, then never bothered to try to polish and edit them.

I could blame part of my lack of progress on moving across the country during the summer. Even after the move was finished, I never seemed to have much drive or energy for anything creative. I looked at the number of rejection slips I’ve collected over the last couple of years and got so discouraged, I stopped sending out subs. I resolved to quit writing shorts completely.

Then I heard about a submission call that intrigued me. I still couldn’t bring myself to try writing something new, so I decided to look over all of the stories that were still lingering on my hard drive.

As I did so, I realized I still like my stories. It dawned on me that I needed to work and edit several of them all over again — I’ve learned a lot as a writer since I first started subbing some of them. One, in particular, sparked the idea for a complete overhaul. The basic events of the story will remain, but not much else. And I’m ready to look at the other stories, with an eye toward possibly tearing them to shreds and seeing what I can salvage from the carnage.

Thinking about sending stories out again forced me to realize that I have achieved things in 2014, even though it felt like nothing happened. I got my first short story published. I had a second story accepted for publication. I was short-listed for the first time at  a pro-level magazine (though that ultimately ended in rejection.) Baby steps forward, maybe, but I’m that much closer to my ultimate goals.

I’m not quitting. I’m going to write again. To take on the highs and lows of sending stories out on submission. So, bring it on, 2015! I’m ready for anything you might throw my way…

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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!