I recently hit a milestone: a rejection that actually said something specific about the story. Which is nice, but the important thing about getting a rejection is it means I submitted a story. That was scary, but it wasn’t nearly as hard as finishing a story.
I haven’t really blogged much about writing because for months and months and months (how long? Let’s say, oh the memory rebels, at least a year and a half, maybe two) I was mired in the deadly cycle of endless rewrites on the Pen story. I kept changing my mind on what the story was about. What got me out was finally deciding on one thesis and do one “final” rewrite. Much to my surprise, the quotes fell off and it really was the final rewrite.
Once I was able to let go and send it out into the cold, cruel world, I brushed off the Bees, started around the same time, but much shorter. It’s gone out and come back and gone out. Then I tweaked the story about Nothing, which is about as short as I can get. And it too went out.
And all of a sudden I have three stories in circulation. What a relief! After so much self-flagellation over not finishing anything, finally deciding that I was really, truly done with one seems to have made it that much easier to get to the same place with a couple more.
The next discipline to tackle is sending them right back out after they get rejected. It feels like juggling in slow motion. Throw the first ball. Catch it, cast it up again. Catch the next one, cast it up again. Catch the next one, cast it up again. One, two, three, over and again. Although right now it seems about as likely as one of my trusty old juggling cubes going into orbit, one of these days, somebody is going to catch one and want to keep it.
Meanwhile, go back to writing number four.