Tag: writing life

When a Rejection Makes You Happy

As some of you may know, I am in the process of finding a home for a flash fiction piece titled Swamp Gas.  It’s slow and tedious work to find a magazine that fits your niche, send it according to their guidelines, and wait often months at a time for their response.  

Today, I received a reply from the latest magazine after an extended wait.  The editor told me that while he personally enjoyed the story, he felt it lacked a meaningful conclusion.  The response is a rejection, but it still put me in a good mood.  Why is this?

Based on my experiences and what I’ve read from others, there are four different types of responses one can expect from an agent of publisher:

Form rejection.  If your story doesn’t leave the slush pile, the reader will send a pre-written message back to you.  Usually it’s along the lines of “Thanks, but no thanks.”  An editor or agent doesn’t see your work.

Personalized rejection.  Say your story made it to the next step, but it still doesn’t make the final cut.  This is where an editor will reach out to you.  The reasons for your rejection are more specific, and they can even offer advice.

Rewrite requests.  The editor thinks you’re awesome, but there are just a few things in your story that need tweaking.  Could you fix them and send it back?

Accepted!  Go out and party!

The rejection I got this time was of the personalized variety.  This is the first response of its kind I have received so far.  Previously my attempts were met with form rejections and I’ve adjusted and tightened the story over the months.  So the email I’ve received this morning makes me happy for two reasons:

-Closure.  I submitted Swamp Gas to this magazine in mid July of last year.  Despite assurances on their website that they do not believe in silent rejections and always respond to writers in one way or another, my anxiety got the best of me and I began to worry if the long silence was its own answer.  It is pleasant to see that this magazine kept to its word.

-Progress.  This being the first personalized rejection I’ve received tells me that I’m getting closer to my goal.

Today I will determine my next step.  It is time  to brush the digital dust off of Swamp Gas and determine if there is anything to be done about the story’s end.  I’ve heard the subjective nature publishing process compared to the dating scene before: sometimes there’s little to nothing wrong with you, but you’re not a fit for the other person.  Maybe this lack of meaning in my conclusion is a matter of taste.  But after several months, it couldn’t hurt to take another peek.

New Year, New Goals

So, this post is somewhat late.  January 11th is about ten days past the time most people talk about their resolutions for the year.  Honestly, I haven’t put a lot of thought into my own list of resolutions.  Considering my resolution list changes little from year to year, I’ve mainly decided to focus on finishing old goals rather than rehashing the same old list.

The following is an email I sent to myself (through futureme.org) to help me keep track of my goals for 2013:

Dear FutureMe,

Late last year you made some resolutions to stay creative and stop living under a rock. Hopefully you have accomplished the following:

-Obtained new employment in a restaurant or other foodservice operation. 
-Read 50 books by this time. 
-Finished editing your draft of Jasper City. 
-Finished writing the first draft of Jasper’s Fall. 
-Contributed more to your webcomic, and found someone to produce it with you.


Once you get this I hope you have created a new set of resolutions to accomplish in 2014. Good luck!

-Past me

Looking back at the email, I created this on January 12, 2013.  I always was a procrastinator.

My progress on these resolutions has been small.  The only one I have truly accomplished was the first, as I found an entry-level job in a grocery store bakery.  It’s a decent start, not where I wanted to be at the end of the year, but I’m in a good position to work my way up.  Earlier in the year I also found work in the kitchens of a retirement home, but due to bad working conditions and incompetent management I decided to leave.  It’s still a step up from where I was at the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013, where I left my job as a customer service representative at an insurance agency and was still seeking a new job.

Once again, I put my 50 books challenge on hold.  I did make it halfway and finish 25 books, but I’m happy with that progress.  I don’t think I’ll be taking another crack at it for 2014, as I would like to dedicate much of my free time to writing, but I won’t put off reading books indefinitely.  Perhaps I’ll try for 12 books in the year, spread out to 1 per month.  As for what book I’ll read to start, I haven’t decided yet.

Jasper City is still not out of editing stages, but I have made significant progress.  With the help of a beta, I have plans to expand the story further and restructure it into 3 distinct parts.  Jasper’s Fall has seen almost no new progress, and it may be that way for a while until I figure out how exactly the plot will unfold.  Currently I have a few chapters dedicated solely to the early lives of a few main characters with no way to link them.  I have done some brainstorming for a sequel, titled Jasper’s Legacy.  But I would prefer to get Jasper City finished and out of the way before I go any further.

My webcomic is still a work in progress.  I may rewrite many parts of the script before it sees any production, and I am toying with the idea of drawing it myself.  My problem:  I can’t draw.  So I will need to fix that first.

But here is what I have done in 2013 instead:

-I submitted a short story titled Swamp Gas to a number of magazines.  So far, I have received nothing but form rejections.  At the moment it is in the queue of a magazine that is apparently known for taking a long time to respond (It’s been a few months so far), so I am still waiting.

-I prepared to move into a new apartment.  I actually DID move into said apartment earlier this month.

-I started repayment on my student loans, cursing loan companies under my breath the entire time.

-Worked at a grocery store for the holiday season.  It is about as busy as you would expect, perhaps more so.

But more importantly, this is the year that I become accustomed to being a fully functioning, independent adult.  In 2009-2011 I was finishing high school and moving on to college.  In 2012 and 2013 I graduated and went back to living at home.  Both of these gave me a kind of security blanket that shielded me from real world situations.  Now that I have moved out of my family home, I have my own bills to pay and my own income to do it, with limited or no help.