Monday, August 14, 2006

On the Writing Front

Rats. I just got word today that a magazine that had held a story of mine for possible publication has decided not to use it. They returned it with a nice note, told me how much they liked it, and even suggested I try re-submitting it next year once I've checked their theme list in case I think it might fit with any of those themes. All very kind, and I'm grateful for all encouragement, but I'm feeling a bit discouraged right now because I seem to get these kinds of notes from editors a lot -- we like it, but we don't quite like it enough, or we don't think it quite fits what we're trying to do.

This seemed like particularly hard timing because I'm actually submitting -- ironically enough, TODAY -- another story to this same magazine. Their fiction contest is closing out tomorrow so I have to get the story postmarked this afternoon. It's ready to go; as soon as sweet girl gets up from her nap we shall head over to the post office. But now I'm feeling kind of hesitant about sending the story. I had been thinking I should definitey submit again to the contest this year, since I got such positive feedback from the editor last year (in addition to holding on to it for possible publication, they told me it finished in the top ten among 400 entries). I know I should "strike while the iron is hot" so to speak, and keep my work out there, in front of people -- especially people who tell me they like it. I never intended to wait this long and cut the deadline so close, but between busyness and computer woes, and then a yukky case of writer's block with the first attempt (a story that I finally gave up on, after deciding it was probably more of a picture book than a short story for a magazine) I'm really glad I managed to get anything done for it at all. So I should probably go on and send.

But I'm not sure it's as good as last year's. At least my heart doesn't feel like it is. Maybe I'm just tired.

Anyway, all I can do is keep trying, keep writing in the cracks and crevices of a life that sometimes feels so full that writing could easily get squeezed out completely if I didn't keep on pushing. So push on I will. I have the rough notes of an essay ready to work up for a submission soon, and I'm working on a set of poems for another submission. I got a lovely note back from someone at Eerdmans in reply to my oh so confident inquiry and they're actually going to send me a free review copy of one of their new kids' books so I can review it on Epinions! It feels like it takes chutzpah for me to sell myself as a reviewer, but I love review work and think I've gotten much better at it in the past two years. Wish I could get a journal or newspaper to agree...

Enough whining. :-) My class starts soon, and I really need to rewrite my opening lecture. I know once I'm teaching again, I will likely find even less time to give to any other kinds of writing until the semester is over. So I'll keep on while I can. I'm grateful, I really am, for every inch of writing life I can enjoy. And I'm going to keep on trying. On to the post office!


Erin said...

Yes, you must keep trying! I know how frustrating rejection is; I've heard back from all the agents I followed up with, and while a couple of them had seemed really interested, none of them wanted to take me on once they got a bigger portion of the book. There are a couple of responses I got later, so I'm going to send out to them, but I'm feeling rather pessimistic... But if at first you don't succeed, send, send again! How many times was "And to Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street" rejected? I forget... But lots! So best of luck to you this time around. I hope they publish it this time! :)

Beth said...

Sigh. I know, I know. We just gotta keep at it. Hard though, isn't it?

I'm sorry none of the agents has panned out for you yet. Maybe soon!

I hadn't heard that Mulberry Street was rejected so many times. Funny. My favorite rejection story is Madeleine L'Engle's story about the number of publishers that turned down *A Wrinkle in Time* mostly because they thought it was "too difficult" for kids. Her point -- kids "got it" a lot better than adults! She almost gave it up a number of times, but persevered.

So here we go. Courage! Fortitude! Faithfuless! Eyes straight ahead!

Plod, plod...