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Rejection

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My writing workshop recently (tentatively) decided to implement a minac, a minimum activity requirement: have to submit a certain number of stories in a certain time period to stay in the group.

I think it's a good idea for a group of writers that want to be professionals. A certain amount of discipline is required to get anywhere as a writer. If the minac is too severe, it can mean the end of the group—I was once in a five-person group with a requirement that everyone had to bring something to one out of every three meetings, but only two of us were writing regularly, so we had to either abolish the minac rule or throw out 60% of the members, which would have effectively ended the group. But a more reasonable minac rule, with a larger group to start with, seems to me like a good idea.

Unfortunately, even the relatively minimal minac rule we decided on may well end up meaning that I can't stay in the group. I haven't been writing regularly for a long time. About a year ago, I noticed that I hadn't written or sent anything out in many months, and pulled out a story that I thought was almost ready to go, and I revised it and took it to workshop; they told me it was a nice start. So I set it aside to do one last small revision pass on it before sending it out, and still haven't dealt with it.

I do think that most of the time we make time for what's important to us. I wasted at least an hour this evening poking around on Google; I could've spent that time writing fiction. So clearly at some level writing isn't important enough to me to make time for it.

And at this point, I really ought to focus any writing time that I do have on revising and sending stuff out rather than writing new stories to be workshopped, especially if I don't get around to revising the new ones after they're workshopped.

So all of this stuff was percolating through my brain last week, and then I noticed that the deadline for Say...Was That a Kiss? was imminent. And I remembered that I had an old piece that I'd meant to polish up a bit and send off. So I did.

It wasn't even remotely sf, but the guidelines indicated that there was no need for submissions to be sf. I thought it was funny and just offbeat enough to appeal to Chris R.

(Of course, there wasn't time to get it critiqued, even if it had been sf. The same thing happened with my submission to Wet earlier this year. It would be ironic if I got in the habit of writing stuff fast as deadlines approached and sending things out without getting a chance to workshop them, and thus had to drop the workshop.)

Sadly, I returned home this past Monday to find my SASE from the Fortress of Words awaiting. When I had the emotional energy to deal with it, on Tuesday, I opened the envelope and found a kind rejection note from the estimable Mr. Rowe; the piece wasn't what he was looking for.

Part of me was amused at how much of a letdown this was, despite how nice the note was. It's been a very long time since I've received a rejection note; probably a couple of years. (Because the only other things I've submitted in the past couple of years were the story I sold to Clean Sheets and the one I sold to Wet.) I'm out of practice at having a thick skin about it—not that I ever submitted enough to really get into practice.

It's particularly amusing given how many rejections I send out. Gave me a nice little taste of what it's like. I'm unlikely to change how I do rejections—we've always striven to be polite and nice in our rejections, which I hope minimizes the pain involved, and it's not like we can accept any more stories than we already accept—but at least I now have fresher memories of how it feels.

I'm not sure whether I'll send out this piece to other markets or not. Part of me doubts that there are other markets that could possibly be interested; part of me thinks I might as well send it off to various lit-fic markets. I suppose it can't hurt.

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