Bad writing month?

December 11, 2010 § 3 Comments

Apparently acceptances can be even more disappointing than rejections, depending on the outcome. It happens periodically that, admist the sea of rejections, there’ s an occasional ‘yes, we would love to publish your story’. Yes!! It’s what makes it worth continuing with the submissions amid growing piles of rejections.

Except for when the acceptance turns into ‘sorry, we are no longer able to publish your story for #insert reason here’. Raise my hopes and spirits and then drop me from a great height? Thanks for that. At least sometimes they apologise, and even seem to mean it.

It certainly doesn’t help to receive a deluge of seriously negative critique on a recent story at -exactly the same time-. Ever feel like the universe is fucking with your head?

I’m looking at my Writer’s Scribe and I realise it’s been many weeks since I last submitted anything. I tried a fortnight or so ago, really I did. I stared for quite a while at Albedo One‘s short fiction event, and I didn’t have the courage to try.

Is this the real test? Given the enormous variation in the types – and honestly, quality – of literature that gets published, in all its myriad forms, I feel like only about half of the battle is learning to write ‘well’ (whatever that means – ask ten people and get ten different definitions of ‘good’ writing). The other half is sheer pig-headed stubbornness and a thick skin. Those of us who don’t have the thick skin will have to improvise.

It’s time to get back to my policy of ‘who cares if it’s painful – do it anyway’. Follow own advice. If you want something enough, it ought to be worth the setbacks, the crisis of confidence every couple of weeks, the constant beating down of the self-esteem. If believing in oneself doesn’t seem to be possible yet, at least toughen up and accept the kicks in the teeth.

Here’s a song to cheer us all up while I send out another round of rejections-in-the-making. Breathe in, breathe out. Onward.



§ 3 Responses to Bad writing month?

  • blakoleander says:

    Hi there, can you give me suggestions on who I should submit writing to? I am not in the US and I don’t seem to know where to go to access a listing of publishers who would be even remotely interested in new writers. Any suggestions?

    • Charlotte says:

      Hi there, thanks for the query. I’m actually not in the US either (England), so a lot of the markets I look at are UK-based (although many will accept submissions from anywhere in the world). I can suggest a few websites that I use to research possible publishers. – Ralan’s Webstravaganza. This was compiled by someone who spent years submitting to various markets – it’s mostly sci-fi and fantasy, so I don’t know how useful that will be to you. I use the ‘response times’ page most, the list of magazine names is very handy. – there are loads of short story and poetry magazines listed here, covering many different genres. – Duotrope is one I’ve only recently discovered, but I think it may trump the rest. Loads of markets and apparently it will also help you keep track of your submissions.

      Also, there are yearly handbooks published for writers, which are full of markets for short fiction, articles, poetry or novel-length works. ‘The Writer’s Handbook’ is one and ‘The Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook’ is another – both really well-stuffed with details, and with articles on writing from various published authors, publishers and agents as well. It’s worth investing in one if you’re planning to make a push for publication this year.

      I find that most magazines are happy to read work from new writers, if you follow their guidelines. I hope that helps. Best of luck!

  • blakoleander says:

    thanks so much I will look into these asap!

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