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Thursday, July 21, 2011

But What of Not Submitting?


Submitting stories to journals for little reward. Being rejected over and over. It can be a mindfuck can't it?

Last week, we were treated to a listing of Blake Butler's list of submissions and then he posted 22 things he learned from the act of submitting stories to journals. And then Brett Elizabeth Jenkins over at (In)specter discussed making rejection a game by attempting to collect 100 of them in a year.

But what of not submitting?

I've also had the pains of sending out story after story. I've also turned it into a game. Became obsessed with Duotrope waiting for editors to reply after 475 days (all the editors must have tragically died). It can make one a little crazy. But it is now a part of my writing process all tied up and bound like a paperback.

But like I said, it makes one crazy...and sloppy. My wife says that when I'm in the midst of submitting aura,  I don't focus enough on the quality of the work I'm submitting. That I rush to get the work out there a draft or two shy of complete.

I don't agree with her, but there is something to be said for her criticism and after epic rounds of submitting I figured it was a good time to pull back. I can't tell you how much has been gained from slowing it down.

I've gained the chance to enjoy writing for the pleasure of it. It feels different and liberating to sit there working on something just to push yourself forward. Just to be a better writer when all is done. Sure I'm going to wade back into the swamp. Got plans to already, but I step back a much stronger writer.

There's no way of capturing the purity of intent I had when I was sixteen and just reading and writing poetry, just because...before it was part of a plot to take over the world, but pulling back approximates it. Helps me to figure out new strategies when I get back into sending stuff out. I'm going to do it again and again and again.

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