Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beginner's Publication Luck—or Curse

I recently had a poem published on 
If you don't count high school literary magazines, this is the first poem I've submitted to anyone, and it earned publication!  Now, if the pattern holds true, I only have to submit about 25 more poems before another one will be snatched up.  That's what happened with my short stories.  

I used to be so scared to show my writing to anyone.  I had a few stories published, again, in my high school literary magazine, but they were almost accidental:  the first one I didn't even submit, but wrote overnight for an assignment in English class.  My teacher was also the literary magazine advisor, and she submitted it without me knowing.  I'm the first to admit it's not a masterpiece.

For a few years after high school, when I went to university and realized how much I didn't know, I hardly even talked about my writing to other people, though it was a huge part of my life.  Finally I saw a short story contest at my public library and decided to enter.  I labored over my story for weeks.  Then I took it to the library, where I had previously worked and thus knew all the librarians.  Terrified, I shoved it at Greg, red-faced, and said, "Don't read it."  Which seems rather self-defeating.

Weeks later the call came:  I had won the contest.  "Beautiful," they called it.  Boom.  Instant confidence.  My first venture into the real world of writing turned out roses.  So I joined a critique group, which I'd been afraid to do.  I started submitting to literary magazines.  The first rejection I took with pride.  The second, third, fourth…not so much.  I kept submitting, though slowly.  Rejection.  Rejection.  It took me 24 more short story submissions before I received my first acceptance, into THEMA Literary Magazine.  (Summer 2011 issue--available to buy at Thema's website.)

The first three travel writing pieces I submitted?  Accepted.  Then a dry spell of rejections.  Do we see a pattern?

Too bad it wasn't the first novel submitted which won acceptance.  Of course, then I'd be on every writer's "that's not fair" list.  So I guess I'll plod along on the novel front with everyone else.

Writing takes time, patience, and skill.  Getting published takes more time, more patience, just as much skill, and lots of luck.  So this month, I'm really going to work on my submitting goals as well as my writing goals.  Good luck to everyone else doing the same!   

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