On Accidents and Patterns

So, Jasoni’s got a post up about writing, and blogs, and rejections, etc.  I won’t link to it, just in case that’s bad form, or whatever, (he’s one of the blogs on the “Other Ships and Captains”) but I think, being new to the blog world as I am, it touched on a few of my own thoughts.

I got a rejection today.  Form letter.  I got two a week ago, and another a couple of weeks before that, and so on.  Hell, I think I’m up to a total of 20 rejections for the 8 or 9 stories I have kicking around out there.  And they hurt.  Not a whole lot, and not for a very long time, but I find if I don’t have 15 minutes or so to sit and get myself past it, then I spend the day trying to “get over it”, which sucks.

I know it’s part of the whole deal, and I truly believe (or have trained myself not to question) that it’s really a matter of the right story finding the right editor at the right time.  I know.  But let me tell you a little story about a guy I’ll call Chris (Christopher can be so presumptuous 🙂  )

Chris went to Clarion South, loved it, and grew enough there to submit his work.  He sold the first thing he ever sent out.  Then he sent out more stuff, and watched it all get knocked back.  Chris is not so bright, and so it’s, strangely, the NEXT story sale that he feels like he needs.  Or maybe it’s like heroin, or air, it’s always the next gulp you “need”, until you get it, and then it’s the NEXT one you lust after.  (Not that you gulp heroin, but you know what I mean.)  Once is an accident, after all, and twice is a pattern.

So, anyway, I guess it wouldn’t be a writer’s blog if there weren’t the occasional peak of crazy exuberance or dirty little wallow in the mud of darkest depression.

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5 responses to “On Accidents and Patterns

  • Laura Goodin

    I so…fully…feel your pain. My first publication (a flash piece on Antipodean) reduced me to literal tears of relief. Then a long dry spell. Then a script-development grant, which I was SURE, for about three days, was PROOF I was a Real Writer(tm). But then it wasn’t anymore. Then I sold another story, and THAT should have been proof, and felt like it, briefly. But in between all those have been dozens of rejections that make me feel like a RealPatheticPoseur(tm).

    I suppose it’s motivation, in a way: each sendout is a chance to get that validation again, to feel like a Real Writer(tm) for just those few moments. Or until the next rejection. Whichever comes first.

    — Laura

  • Jason Fischer

    link away mate, it’s all in the public domain 🙂

    I agree with everything you’ve said. I get the most terrible highs and lows depending on whether I’m publishing stuff or not, writing really is like a drug or some sort of addictive behaviour. At least something tangible and creative comes out of this process, but I don’t know a single writer who is 100% happy and sane.

    Sorry to hear you’ve had some rejection slips, but I’m glad to see you’re submitting stuff (which is better than I can do most weeks). You’ll get there in the end, sheer bloodymindedness will win the day!

  • Peter Ball

    To be honest, I find a lack of regular rejections is the thing that makes me feel like I’m not a writer – the acceptances are nice, but they’re often for things that I wrote long ago and have tinkered with enough that they’re in a workable form. I tend to feed on the realisation that I am still doing the things I’m meant to be doing – producing new work, sending it out, and testing myself against the standards of the markets I want to be published in

    By the by, have you looked at submitting to Black Static? I subscribed a while back, and in terms of both style and content they seem ideal for the stuff of yours that I’ve seen thus far.

  • christophergreen

    Thanks, all. I”ve looked at Black Static before, but hsven’t tried them yet. I’m currently short-listing some magazines on my subscribe-to list, and I’ll add it.

    Peter, that attitude is one of the many reasons guys like you and Dan have such a special place in my heart.

  • Peter Ball

    Drop me an e-mail with your possible-subscription’s list if you’re up in the air about any of them. I subscribe to a large chunk of stuff to get a taste of what their looking for, so I can probably loan you a couple of issues via Australia Post if you want to try stuff like Black Static out before subscribing.

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