When I first started sending my stories out for submission, I joined Duotrope. Absolutely, if you are an aspiring writer submitting your work, I recommend this site. I wouldn’t be able to track my submissions as well on my own. It is a searchable database where writers can list stories, search for places to submit and track sales. In addition, it offers interviews with editors that I find really useful when deciding what to send where. It is a subscription based site – $5 a month but I find it so useful, I don’t mind the cost. (Similar free sites exist, I just haven’t used them. So I can’t recommend any of them.)
And, it gives me sweet little messages to keep me going!
The first time I got rejected, I cried.
Like a big baby.
For multiple days.
It was devastating. I didn’t have a lot of perspective, at the time, to be honest. I don’t know what I thought was going to happen – that my first time out of the gate, I’d take home the Triple Crown? It was a really nice rejection, too. The editor took the time to tell me what wasn’t working and to offer me the opportunity to resubmit when I made some changes.
But that first rejection made me shaky. Writing is something I’ve always been good at doing. It was the secret wish in my heart. It was the gravy on my mashed potatoes. But, what if I only thought I was good at it? What if everyone else on the planet thought I was just another shitty wanna-be purple prose Franken-monster? When your whole identity is wrapped up into a need to create, and no one wants your creation, what does that mean?
Of course, I was being a drama queen. That story hadn’t matured yet and it was actually really good it wasn’t published as it was. I made some changes. I let it simmer for a while. Then, I resubmitted it and got rejected again. Ha! Life is a trick ho, some days. The second rejection actually hurt a little less because I was expecting it. And, I could look at my submission tracker and see that my story had 4 more chances at 4 different magazines.
I worked on my story. I resubmitted it. I told no one what I was doing save my writing soul sister, Molly and my husband. If I didn’t tell anyone and I failed, no one would know! (Which, incidentally, is how I worm my way out of most diets.) And, then, I wouldn’t have to look like a loser. Well…you know what I mean. In any case, it was eventually accepted and published. And that little win gave me the courage to keep trying.
Some days you have to be brave even when the wind is rattling your door. You take the wins you can get and you let them carry you over to the next. I watch my submission tracker like a nut. I get excited every time I get an email from an editor – even the ones saying “No thanks”. As soon as I get rejected, I immediately start looking for a new place to submit. The rejections still hurt but not nearly as bad as that first. Because, I know a win is on its way.
Not because I’m awesome.
Not because I deserve it or anything like that.
Because I keep trying.