I haven’t made a habit of submitting my work to paying markets. I’ve done it a few times, and gathered a measly collection of
24 23 rejections (I have one on submission – technically, that’s not rejected yet).
From that I’ve read, that’s nothing, especially for the short story market.
Once when I was attending a TurboKick class at the Rec Center, there was some time before the class started that the instructor decided to fill by having everyone say their name and favorite holiday. I didn’t really know what to say, but she started with the other side of the room so I had time to think. I considered Halloween, because I was born in October and I like the spookiness of the holiday. But it seemed so trite, and not something that I can really endorse as a favorite – not after the last few Halloween’s I’ve had. When it was my turn, I chose New Year’s.
Not because I like resolutions, as the instructor immediately assumed. It’s simpler, geekier, than that. I like the date changing. I work with dates in my job, and I get a little happiness when I get to start typing or writing a new year.
I don’t even like New Year’s resolutions. Reserving just one time of the year for change is silly. It closes off the possibility of change during the rest of the year, which I think for some people is the point. And the reason that the success rate of New Year’s resolutions tends to be low – most people have no practice changing.
I’ve tried to practice change in the last seven years or so, and I’ve gotten better at it. But some things have proved easier to change for me than others. Start liking exercise? Turns out, I think exercise is a ton of fun! Speak up in classes and meetings? Yeah, I can do that. Start being okay with rejection? Um, maybe I’ll just write for myself for a while until I’m actually good and then I’ll start submitting stories to professional markets again… But how will I know when I’m good enough?
Well.. One way is to keep writing and submit short stories to magazines. Selling something would certainly be an indicator of quality, right? And it doesn’t hurt anyone to try and sell stories.
When I get rejected.
So, in the spirit of setting goals that I can realistically achieve, I’m going to increase the number of rejections on my spreadsheet to 100 in the next 6 months.
If 76 rejections in 6 months doesn’t inoculate me from the pain of rejection… then I’ll just have to keep going.