Thick Skin and Patience

When I first started submitting my writing about ten years ago, I had neither patience nor a thick skin. It was a recipe for disaster. So I focused on novels and took a four year break from writing short stories and submitting. To be honest, I really didn’t know how to write a short story. I thought I did of course, and was shocked, outraged, that the magazine didn’t accept my work. A few years later, I tried again, with a space opera that was actually a story. I even sent it to the right markets, but that didn’t stop the tears when the rejections came back.

Since then, I’ve made a study of short stories, reading and writing them, figuring out what I like, wrenching skill out of each word I wrote. I’ve had one story published (in a now defunct, rather short lived e-zine), and I was happy. But my stories weren’t very good, so I tried again, thinking I was serious. Compared to where I am now? It was laughable. In all honesty, a beginning writer needs overconfidence or they’d never make it over those early stumbles.

Then I started timing those rejections, getting my hopes up when the rejection didn’t come back, wondering if I’d finally made it past the slush pile. Daydream about publication.  I still hope of course, but not at the expense of a writing session.  I do till check dates, but once a week, when I confirm my weekly goals.

This week, I received three rejections; 4 for the month; 23 for the year; 51 lifetime short story rejections.

 I’ve heard of writers who tape them up, but that gets kind of hairy with email, unless you print everything out. I used to save them in a folder, but it got to be too much trouble to file them, so I made a spreadsheet and track the info there. It’s fun to open it up and scroll through it, and remind myself to get back to revising so I can add more to the list.

Do you have a thick skin and patience, or are you stalking Duotrope on a daily basis? 🙂

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One response to “Thick Skin and Patience

  1. That’s the spirit! Overconfidence is essential, even if it’s just to overcome whatever horrible mental defect caused me to write in the first place instead of becoming a steel magnate or something.

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