Its been one helluva week for me when it comes to my writing. No, I haven’t suffered from writer’s block (don’t hate me, but that’s never really been something I’ve struggled with), or some kind of existential phobia at seeing my words on screen, but rejections. A slew of rejections. In fact, yesterday was the first day in many that I got only one; almost a cause for celebration. I got two rejections on short stories (although one was encouraging), and several on my manuscript. One manuscript rejection was six months to the day from when I sent the query. I had to look the agent up because I forgot who they were. But the one that stung the most was on a full request. Ouch.
Needless to say when I got the full request a few weeks ago I was happy. It was from an agent who represents novels like mine and seemed to be on the hunt for middle grade mysteries. I didn’t exactly have my hopes high, but I was hopeful if you know what I mean. As if in anticipation of the “thanks, but no thanks” email the next morning, I had a terrible night’s sleep. The typical writer’s angst and doubts wouldn’t leave me alone. And then in the morning the other shoe dropped.
Keep on Trucking
You know what I’ve been doing every day since then (besides throwing up my hands and asking the heavens “Why, oh why?!?)? Well, writing. And revising. And sending out more queries. Because a large part of publication (yes, even for literary magazines) are numbers. Queries sent compared to pieces accepted. For most of us, it’s a depressing statistic, but one that is nevertheless dependent on perseverance. Practically speaking, you can’t be published without putting your work out there. Even more practically, you don’t get published without putting your work out there a lot.
So for every rejection I get I send out another manuscript query, or another short story. By now I know that piece will probably come back with a “Thanks, but no thanks,” but I’m holding out for that one. Maybe I haven’t even written it yet. Maybe it will be rejected seventy times before acceptance. It might even be one of my least favorite pieces.
The one thing I do know is that if I don’t put my work out there, I won’t be published. And in an industry that is highly subjective, having something objective to cling to is like a life preserver.
*Here’s a handy list of literary journals if you’re so inclined.
Have you read my last blog post about our trip to San Francisco? You can here!