100 rejections: July update

What’s that? You were waiting for a July update and it didn’t come?

Welcome to 2021.

If anyone out there is thinking about starting a blog but doesn’t know if they have the time, don’t do it. Take up knitting where the only person you disappoint is yourself.

But, now that we’re now more than halfway through the year… did I manage to catch up to my 50 rejections for the end of July? Did I get myself back on track through the power of positive thinking and perseverance?

Of course not.

It’s been two months, justify yourself

In the last two months I wrote very little, submitted what I managed to polish into some kind of shape and tried to keep on moving. I got tied up with two short stories for a month or so, which burned me out a bit. One is finally done and ready for rejection though, so please don’t bludgeon me as a failure just yet.

My approach to this as a project has definitely changed. I’ve been saying all year that I wanted to do this to write more (and not just a monthly summary of how little I wrote). What I’m finding instead is how easy it is to get published. Honestly.

There are so many outlets for writers. These places are responsive and supportive. They shout out to the contributors and you see the results through increased website traffic and follows. You find those communities of contributors. It’s really nice, even if these kids and their dern Twitters make me feel old.

I’m realising how flexible these pieces of writing can be as well. In the before times, I used to try and write something at least monthly for a local open mic night (a very friendly spoken word event). I recently repurposed one of those and had it published, which was awesome. In fact, it’s validating. Not everything has to go through months of critiquing and redrafting and fussing.

What have we learned, children?

That there are fantastic communities of very talented writers out there who are looking for other people to talk to and celebrate. If you avoid eye contact, you can sneak in and hang around for long enough that you look like you belong.

And while this won’t apply for every type of writing, there are also plenty of sites that won’t give you the runaround. You submit, they respond, and if they like it they publish it. That’s all it should take. Places that make you wait out an eight-week period because they’re too lazy/cowardly to reject you aren’t worth your time.

Also, submissions sometimes come back in clumps. In fact, they always come back in clumps. This makes them feel less special, and if they involve rewrites, makes you very busy. Enjoy your abundant success, you chump.

Give us the numbers you stupid root vegetable

Alright fine.

Total submissions: 29

Rejections: 12

Acceptances: 6 (two should be published this month)

Pending: 11 (2 are being held for consideration, 1 is waiting for minor edits)

Further details

  • Longest pending submission is now from February. I emailed about the one from December and they kindly followed it up and rejected me. How’s that for customer service?
  • My story that was rejected after seven months was accepted elsewhere and should be published in August (yay!). Take that you form rejecting, seven-months-taking hacks.
  • Still waiting for that acceptance from September last year to be published, but it was just accepted somewhere else so that’s fine instead. At this point I figure the original publication is a lost cause and it represents yet another gap between intent and capacity. Just like this project.

What’s next?

I have one story that I’ve just finished that I expect to be rejected a few times in the coming months. I’m aiming for paying markets first (for the first time ever), so I guess we’ll see. I’m honestly running out of old stuff to submit, and it’s probably too soon for places to consider them as reprints. Mostly though, I should just stop mucking around and commit proper time to writing before even I lose faith in myself.

There’s a longer piece that I haven’t been working on this year, it’ll be a novel, I think. The last month has had a few opportunities come and go where I know it would have been nice to have a full manuscript to submit. I need to start working on that in some kind of accountable way because I get buried with half a first draft. Again, more writing time. I wonder if I actually need to sleep.

Final thoughts

I’ve been feeling down about things these last few weeks. I’m still picking through the thoughts. But writers don’t exist in a bubble. If you’re looking to get published, you have to involve other people in the process, even if you self-publish (that’s your audience, dummy). When you spend more time following and reading about other writers, your successes start to feel small. You feel like a kid angling for a stamp on the back of your hand for doing a good job.

Fuck that, set your own markers for success. I wanted to get published, and I did. I wanted to get published in more places, and I did. My next goal is to see if I can sell a story. I honestly don’t know if I will. Tune in next month to find out.

That’s it. That’s all my goal needs to be. It doesn’t rely on anyone else succeeding or failing. I don’t care if Bob down the road doesn’t like my story. He doesn’t have to (and he’s the kind of person who keeps his bins out the front of his house, so you know). It doesn’t matter if Bobina up the street had her thing published somewhere more prestigious/more widely distributed/where her mum saw it. Nothing anyone else does or doesn’t do affects you and what you do. Comparison is the thief of joy. Look for people to share in your successes, and share in theirs as well. Then you can all gang up on the wankers and laugh at them together. That’s what the internet is for.

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