Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Writing is Hard

I’m sure some of you have seen this meme bouncing around the internet. And it’s true: writing is hard. But publication is harder.

I’ve recently had another story accepted for publication. I was on the verge of tearing my hair out, fretting that I would never be published again. You never know, really. Writing/Publishing is a subjective business. What works for one magazine or publication won’t work for another. I’ve had editors tell me that they really liked and enjoyed my stories, but that they just didn’t cut the mustard. They loved it, but they weren’t “in love” with it. It’s not personal; it’s never personal. Yet we always take it personally.

I should know by now that there is no exact time frame for submission to acceptance/publication. My latest story was written back in September of 2016 and was only accepted in March of 2017. I had to do a revision on it too. Though it was good, it needed polishing. Many stories do. Take it as a sign of encouragement if an editor responds and asks you for a rewrite. They are investing their time in you and giving you a second chance. It’s a complement, really.

One story I wrote, “Saving Grace” was originally written way back in 2013 and didn’t appear in print until 2015. That’s two years.

“A Grave Discovery,” my little murder mystery, had been written in October of 2015 and was accepted by New Zenith Magazine in June 2016. Eight months and I was just about to throw in the towel. Sadly, that magazine has since ceased publication. (I am determined to get this one published again though.)

“An Agoraphobic in Europe,” was written in September of 2015 and wasn’t published until over a year later.

Another interesting fact: 90% of what I write, I write with one publication in mind. However, rarely does that publication ever accept or publish what I have written. I can’t tell you how many times I have submitted stories to Guideposts, Highlights, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and Reader’s Digest, only to have my stories accepted elsewhere.

Manic obsession and perseverance is the only real advice I can give about writing or publication. You receive twenty rejections for a story, submit it again. Submission twenty-one could be it. Don’t take “no” for an answer.

Until next time!