tally ho

It's been a while since I've updated the world on how my writing's going. Last night, a final email check before bed revealed that great success will soon shower down on me from above, along with huge amounts of cash.

Actually - April Fool - I found another rejection. So I hung my head in sorrow and cried myself to sleep.

Actually - April Fool again - I (honest to goodness) took the no-thank-you in stride.

This morning I thought it might be interesting to go over the word-crafting activity I've participated in since roughly last March. Compared to other years, this one's been slight on writing time but perhaps heavier than some when it comes to learning, thinking, reading, and interacting with the publishing world.

I could illustrate my creative life, perhaps, by quoting a character named Leonard on the (new to me) sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Leonard is some type of physicist or something, so no correlation to me in terms of education, etc., but when a woman he was dating asked what he'd done at work that day, he replied, "I thought a lot." The woman just looked at him, so he added, "And I wrote down some stuff." That sums up most of my literary days.

And yet there are a few statistics I could tally. So I did. First I counted the number of essays I've had in circulation (sent out to journals, magazines, or anthologies) since March 2010, and the total is seven.

From that pool, I've received acceptances for four, and those have since been published - three online and one in a print anthology. That feels good. I hadn't even remembered there were more than two that saw daylight (if Internet journals count, which I think they do).

Maybe that's hard to believe. But the daily process can be like getting a new haircut. You're thankful for nice reactions you receive, but the words of anyone who makes a joke or even a suggestion for improvement will stay with you like dandruff on a dark sweater. And those who say nothing about it at all, well, those non-commenters might possibly drive you to find a different hair stylist. (I'm speaking for myself, but maybe also for other sensitives out there.)

When it came to the past year's rejections, my tally highlighted more interesting things. Like I mentioned regarding last night, I can now sometimes take a rejection philosophically and promptly head to dreamland afterward. Truly. It happens. But the emotional roller coaster can still really corkscrew me some days. There can follow weeks when trying to rest looks more like chasing wandering goats than counting sheep. So it helps to see how many potentially wild rides I've taken and survived.

My tally shows thirty rejections in 12-ish months. Twenty-four of them were standard. In other words, they send the same notice to most authors, and there is nothing in it regarding the particular piece in question. A few are by editors you just know are trying to give us sensitives an easier time. Editors have much to wade through and to do, and they rarely get money for it, same as us wannabe writers. Sometimes they are wishing for a kind comment or two from somewhere. So here's mine. Thanks for reading my work and letting me know, kindly, you couldn't use it.

My tally also reveals six of my rejections as the personal, encouraging, we'd-like-to-see-more-from-you kind. This was rather surprising, but nice. Three different essays have caused somebody to comment, "We were impressed," "I can see this being published," or "We dig your style."

This especially helps, because two of those three essays are still out there. One of them got rejected again last night, with a very brief, standard message.

But I know a few somebodies liked it. And that helps me sleep pretty well.


deb said…
You are an inspiration.

and I spend far too much of my life thinking , I think.
Marianne said…
Thanks for the update! I really enjoy learning from your writing process and experiences. Plus, I think your current haircut is great. =)
Carol Webster said…
Keep going! The best is coming. So thankful to read this. Love you lots. Mom
Deanna said…
Thank you, each one. Love to you and sunshine, I hope! (Must go out in the nice day now.)