After failing to make the short list for the inaugural Lane Cove Literary Award with my short story Still It Bleeds, I recently received a rejection from a magazine which I had forgotten I submitted to. I keep track of all my submissions electronically because there's no way I could remember, so this morning I need to update my submissions history with another rejection.
Still it Bleeds is one of my favourite stories but it has been passed over 8 times now. I've had lesser stories, in my opinion, accepted more readily. I wrote it in 2012 which I think was my best year, so far, for short story writing. 12 stories of, again this is only my own estimation, high quality, mostly literary fiction. 3 of them were published while the others are racing to be next to find a sympathetic editor and the readers beyond.
What I think about myself and my work is both important and not important. It is significant because in order to continue the hard and lonely road of the writer, I must believe in myself and my ability. I must be satisfied that I am giving it my best. I must have the confidence to go on with only a quantum of encouragement, or none at all. I must remind myself that my work is good.
On the other hand, what I think of myself is inconsequential in terms of attracting readers. No matter how good I think my work is, I have to find someone who agrees. Initially I need an editor to dig what I do, and then I need readers. People have told me that they love my work. I will never forget the woman at the Meet the Author night at Dapto Library who told the audience that she thought Ashmore Grief was a great book and everyone in Australia should read it. Her words were encouraging but they did nothing for sales.
It's easy for me to write. I have to restrain myself which is what I am doing here. This was only going to be a mini Writing Activity Statement abut the latest short story rejection.
Share an encouraging word you received from someone about your writing, or about anything.