Last year I made a fairly reasonable (or seemingly so) promise or resolution. Okay, who am I kidding, it was a bit crazy. I wanted to complete my novel (done) and publish a short story every month. PUBLISH not simply write.
So far the score stands at Slush Pile 27 Russ 1. And that “1” won’t even see publication until next month, or really, next year. I’m counting it anyway.
Now, I haven’t written twenty seven stories. Many of the rejections above are from subbing the same stories to different markets. In total, I wrote about eight new stories. Even that’s off my intended pace of one per month but at the start of the year I let the novel absorb most of my time.
The score sounds tragic, but it’s not as bad a beating as it seems. In actuality, I had several stories escape the slush and end up on an editor’s desk. Fully ten of those rejections were not your typical form letter. Some included personal remarks, many appeared to be the “good” form letter. All which invited and encouraged me to send more work. Of those, six came from professional paying markets.
But here’s the good news – I’ve got a few weeks yet. Just since the start of December, I’ve received two acceptances. Yeah, the chances of me racking up ten more before the 31st are incredibly slim. But you know what? That’s what writing is about. Incredibly slim odds. Perseverance. Getting beaten down time and time again only to stand up and throw yourself back in the fray.
According to Duotrope, most of the pro markets have acceptance rates below 1%. I’d say those are about the same odds as me getting ten acceptance letters in the next few weeks. I’ve got four pending, three I need to re-sub, one I plan to submit this week…just got to find another story or two somewhere along the way. Not a problem.
Set goals. Make resolutions. Make them crazy, unattainable, un-freaking-believable. Put them somewhere way above the clouds, above the ionosphere, past the orbit of the moon, any moon, from here to Alpha Centauri and further still. And when you’re falling back to Earth, your skin glowing red hot, plasma dripping from your mouth, laugh like a fucking madman no matter how fast the ground is approaching because it ain’t over. Not yet.