My intention with this site is to have links to work I’ve had published. However, to do this I need to submit work to various places and get them published. So last week I started preparing for a round of submissions. When I started though, I realised my folders were in a mess. I had listed and saved everything but there were multiple files of the same story labelled ‘DONE’, there were unfinished drafts and generally lots of creation and not much order. So my inner organiser stepped up and spent a few evenings after work creating a spreadsheet and listing all my stories, marking where they were at whether finished or nearly ready, if they’d had they had feedback, whether they were first, second or third draft, etc. That was a great thing to do. Now my stories are in order and I finished off about six tales that were each a few hours away from being marked ‘DONE’. And, that felt good.
This week I’ve been focusing on checking open submissions against the work I have and plotting story ideas for open themes that I’d like to create something for. Part of this involves reading journals, getting to know their styles and what they like. This takes time, but it also means I’ve read and found some great online magazines. There’s so much great writing out there. It’s inspiring, so I’ll keep working on this.
Even though I had to workshop a new story to the group every other week when I was studying, when it came to sending work off, out into the big wide world, I was so worried about what the response would be, that I didn’t do it. I kept my stories to myself and just let a few trusted friends read them and give me feedback. But then I realised that, for me, that was not why I was writing. I wanted people to read my work. So I faced my fears and realised that if I sent work off, the worst that could happen would be that it wouldn’t be published. Seeing as the work wasn’t published anyway, well, clearly sending it off didn’t matter. The thing that did matter though was the concept of a rejection letter.
I think my fear of getting rejection letters was pretty big. Everyone talks about them and how many they have, but I wanted to be accepted, not rejected. But I also realised that it was all just part of a process, so I was wise, I chose a publication that promised constructive feedback with each rejection. That was actually really useful and when I received my first ever rejection email, it actually felt good. I had something to work with. Since then I have sent off a few more things. Mostly the rejection letters I have received have been personal and insightful, helping me to understand what I need to address. I’ve even started to anticipate what the rejection letter will say, which means I’m getting a better understanding of the process and also that I can avoid as many rejections by applying my new understanding before I send them off. And, so far I’ve had one ‘no reply’ and one standard ‘no thanks’ email. So, overall I’ve decided rejection letters are actually positive, so to completely remove my fear of rejection I have decided to aim for one hundred rejection letters. In my last round of submissions, I was really lucky and had two things accepted, so as yet I am nowhere near my one hundred rejections. But every time I send something out, it’s another step closer to having another link on this site for something for you to read and a step closer to my one hundred replies.
So, this is what I am up to. I’ve discovered that I work best with a system based around a good spreadsheet because I’m naturally a bit scatty and forget all the things I create and do. And, I’m going to keep writing my stories, working on them, and keep sending things out to completions and publications, because after-all is said and done, for me, it’s all about the words.