On persevering

I sold three short stories last month. One sale was a reprint of the first short story I’d ever written. One was the second time I’d submitted that story anywhere. And the third was a story I’d been trying to get placed for at least a year and had been racking up rejections for my trouble. All three sales made me happy (especially the one I got emailed about on my vacation. Pretty good reason to justify checking my email in the middle of Animal Kingdom!). I can’t wait for readers to see these stories. In fact, you can read one of them now.

There are a couple of conclusions to draw here. First, obviously, is that the submission process for short stories is fairly subjective, and sometimes you need to keep trying to find the editor who loves your work. Second, you can’t take rejection personally, although you’re still allowed to hate it. (I find chocolate is helpful in these situations.) Third—most important—getting your stories out there is a numbers game. The more you submit, the more likely you are to get acceptances. You can’t win if you don’t play.

A reminder: Getting an encouraging rejection letter with helpful feedback also counts as a win. An editor asking to see more of your work? Definitely a win. Dusting yourself off after a discouraging rejection and sending that story somewhere else? That’s a win too.

I’m waiting to hear back on a couple of other short stories. They’ll get accepted or they won’t. If they’re not accepted, I’ll try again.

This process takes a lot of work and time, which can be a little frustrating if you also have a day job (what do I do at my day job? Articles like this, among other things). But it’s work that’s worth doing, and it’s for you. The only expectations you have to meet are the ones you set for yourself.

Keep writing, keep submitting, keep persevering.