Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Playing the waiting game

The established authors that I talk to and read about all say that getting published is a combination of talent, luck and persistence, with the latter being perhaps the most important.

You've got to keep writing and you must keep submitting; like falling off a bicycle or being thrown from a horse, you have to get back up and back on. Got to send rejected stories right back out to other markets.

Dreaming about writing as a profession, that was always the part I worried over; I have never been very good at rejection. But now that I am persisting, now that I am working hard to accept rejection as a necessary thing, it appears that I am faced with another stumbling block and it begins with the letter P, as well.


Like rejection, being patient is something for which I have never had much, well, patience. I have always favored that old cartoon of the two vultures, in which one says to the other, "I'm tired of waiting; I'd rather just go kill something."

Case in point. At the moment, I have five stories that have been accepted at four publications (one is an e-zine, and three are print publications) and all five are setting, twiddling figurative thumbs, waiting for spots in future issues that range from January to September 2009.

I am grateful to Jordan and Camille at Every Day Fiction, who were the first to accept my stories, but perhaps my success there (a story each month from July through November) has spoiled me.

It has come to me that a publication that presents a story every day consumes submitted fiction at a ferocious rate, resulting in a much shorter interval between submission and appearance. That realization gives me an ever greater respect for what the folks at EDF have accomplished (and continue to accomplish) and an admiration of their persistence.

So now I have to work on patience. Perhaps I will adopt the famous little prayer from Alcoholics Anonymous. You know the one.

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.

But I'd rather just go -- well, you know what I mean.