After invigorating months of house guests and travel, I turned the page to 2019 with nothing of note written on it. Writer friends were filling their blogs and social media posts with plans, such as finishing a novel or finding an agent. Also, this: accumulating rejections. I’d seen this sort of thing before. Buried in failure are successes. No pain, no gain. You can’t win if you don’t play. It’s all in the numbers. I know.
But submissions are tough. The odds are against you. Even the smallest literary journals contend with hundreds of manuscripts. Large ones, thousands. Agents are bombarded with queries. And, you are asking a stranger, a faceless stranger, to pass judgement on what you have spent weeks or months, possibly years, agonizing over in the privacy of your writing room, in the privacy of your brain.
While involved with moving and the paperwork and tasks of adjusting to life here, as well as writing, I gave myself a pass on submissions during 2018. My inbox was full of opportunities, but I let deadline after deadline go by. I pretended to forgive myself. I made all kinds of excuses. But I felt guilty. I am guilty. I haven’t been working hard enough.
With a wide-open calendar, I’ve had to decide whether to look at it in a state of panic – yikes, my calendar has no distractions or plans! – or in a state of glee – my calendar has no distractions or plans!
Back when I was part of an advertising team pitching new clients, a typical success rate was roughly one new client for every ten presentations. Sometimes we’d pitch eighteen with no success, but then be awarded the next two. Sometimes we’d get four fairly quickly, but then nothing new for months. When I was regularly submitting short stories, my acceptance rate was about one for every twenty-five submissions. One of my stories was accepted by six journals. Others were never placed.
I have managed rejection. I can do it again. I will do it again. As you are my witness!
I managed to click submit once in December. Rejection came yesterday. So I’m already one step closer.
Wish me luck! No. Wish me perseverance.