Sharpening My Sword

July was a weird month for me. It started off great with the All Write Now Conference. Then it took a turn.

I started the month giddy with myself, anticipating further progress with my writing. Going to my first ever writing conference seemed like a natural step to take. It was. I met many new people and attended several classes that either reinforced what I’d been doing or gave me greater insight into the craft. Off of that high, I still had a story pending with Daily Science Fiction.

I’d made it past their first round of review and was anxiously awaiting their final say. It didn’t go my way and they passed (rightly so) on my story. Then within a day of that I received a letter from a small publisher I met at the conference who’d asked for my manuscript after I had a pitch session with them. The letter was a rejection, but at least they did me a huge favor and offered a short critique. That has helped me more than they’ll ever know.

Within a day or two of that letter, I received another rejection of a different story I’d submitted. I tried sending the story to another place and had another rejection within a few days.

To be fair, the story probably needed rejection. It wasn’t ready. I’m reworking it now to make it stronger.

What all of this has taught me is that I need to hone my skills. Certainly I need to take time with my work and make sure it is the best possible representation of my writing. I don’t need to go storming prematurely at the gates of publishing expecting entrance when I haven’t prepared my sword yet!

The rejections hurt, they always do. I’ve got a nice growing list of stories that were rejected and by whom and when. It’s enlightening to see that but at the same time, I know maybe the stories weren’t ready or maybe I tried the wrong places.

I’m not  giving up. I know I can do better. Rejection doesn’t mean the end of things. To me it’s like a nice way of saying “not yet, but soon.” It’s up to me to put the effort into it.

I’m sharpening my sword right now, staring at those gates, ready to make my way inside.

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