Okay, so, since I took us out of the beautiful ephemeralness of the writing process and thrust us into the concrete really-realness of putting yourself out there I thought this time I’d put out a life jacket.
I mentioned that my preferred way of putting yourself out there for the public was getting published. This was a tad full hardy, and easier said than done. Putting yourself out there through publishing is hard. You’re going to get rejected a lot.
Let me say that again: YOU’RE GOING TO GET REJECTED A LOT.
Alright. Deep breath. Now everyone say it with me…
I’m going to get rejected a lot.
This does not make you a failure. … … Trust me, I know how that sounds. Even I have trouble believing that every now and again. Because, and this is just the truth, you’re going to feel like a failure after your umpteenth rejection.
One of the things you should keep in mind during this whole process is: our work is subjective. As much as publishers and agents may look at Harry Potter and say that it was successful because of x, x, and x. Or the Twilight series. Or the works of Michael Chabon. (and I’m showing my age here.) It is really up to the taste of the public what becomes popular, and with small publishing—short stories in a maga/e-zine—it’s up to the editor what goes into the publication. For instance: I have a zombie-ish story—Issues of Revanantcy—which I sent to the publication Brave Blue Mice. It was accepted to the webpage portion of the publication, but in the acceptance letter, and I’ll never forget this, the person who read it said they almost rejected it without reading it. And why, you may ask, would they do that? Because it was about zombies—well revenants, which are slightly different, but I digress. And they just get so many zombie story the person didn’t want to read yet another story about them. In the end they did, and found out that zombie stories can be more than: “high school kids running around screaming and getting eaten in the goriest ways possible.” (Or something to that effect.)
So yeah, subjectivity plays a big part in what we do. The above story also illustrates another thing to keep in mind about writing and rejection: you’re not alone. There are so many people out there writing, and the Interweb has made it much easier to put your/their/everyone’s writing in the hands of the people. So if you’ve written a zombie story someone else has too. If you’ve written a lesbian vampire story someone else has too. If you’ve written a Suesian jaunt through the mind of psychopathic killer haunted by the ghosts of victims who finds love with one of the ghosts and attempts to resurrect said ghost in a new body well…you should really get that published because I kinda want to read that. The point I’m going for isn’t you should shelve your zombie story because everyone is doing zombie stories (or anything really zombies just seems to be the theme today), but you should highlight what makes yours different, and you have to fight that much harder for it.
By the way, this also means there are hundreds, at least, of writing blogs out there. So if you’re reading this one: THANKS FOR READING THIS ONE!
I’m going to finish with the point I made all the way at the beginning of this: rejection doesn’t make you a failure. Stopping writing makes you a failure. Rejection can’t make you stop writing, only you can stop you from writing. The worst rejection can do is tell you that this editor of this mag/e-zine doesn’t think this story is right for them. Take that as a challenge to find one your stories, or write a new one, that the editor will think is a good fit for the publication.
Don’t stop writing.
And: Be yourself, be well; write yourself, write well.