A Milestone Year

In my last post, when I wrote about my experience at the Squaw Valley summer writers’ conference, I failed to mention that this had been one of my long-term goals. It felt good to check it off my list of things I want to experience and accomplish as a writer. I’ve had a wonderful year so far, enjoying some successes amid the normal deluge of rejections and periods of word drought, and now I wonder what will come next.

A year ago, I decided to adopt the hundred-rejections-a-year goal, and I came close: seventy-six submissions, sixty-nine rejections, one acceptance. In 2018, I am closer to my target and I still have months to go. Looking at my submissions tracker in Duotrope, I see eighty-six submissions, sixty-one rejections, two acceptances, and one honorable mention in a contest.

Those numbers tell me that I’m sending my work into the world, trusting my words will resonate with someone, that the stories will find good homes. It’s only a matter of time before it happens—although sometimes the process seems to take forever. One of my favorite stories went through several revisions and sixty-one rejections before someone said “yes”.

This year also brought one of those milestone birthdays. Funny thing about milestone birthdays—they make you think about time: how much has passed, how much we may have left. At some point in our lives, haven’t we all said, “I want to do _____ by the time I turn [insert magic number here]”?

I decided to use my birthday as an artificial deadline to accomplish two of my writing goals. Getting accepted into Squaw Valley was one, finishing the first draft of the book I’ve been writing was another. Alas, that deadline passed and the book is still unfinished. I have modified my goal to “finish before the end of the year”. We’ll see how that goes.

So now you know that (1) I’m not getting younger, (2) I’m not good with artificial deadlines, and (3) I am getting a lot of experience submitting my work and collecting rejections. But occasionally a “yes” sneaks into the mix, and that makes any year a milestone year.

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