Yesterday another rejection came in the mail, by far the fastest rejection I have ever received.Recently I blogged about a new science fiction short story and how I had mailed it off to the Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
As with most rejections, there was no indication as to why it was rejected. I could have messed up a small detail of the submission process or the story could have quite simply sucked.
I am certainly no stranger to rejection. I’ve written quite a few short stories, all but one (a story about zombies) have been rejected. I got a tremendous amount of positive feedback from agents at the Backspace writer’s conference, 5 out of 7 wanted to see more of my novel.
But that’s just the thing. I hate writing short stories. It’s like pulling teeth for me. I would much prefer sitting down to write a chapter of a 300, 400, or 800 page novel than I would sitting down to write a short story.
Writing (possibly also musical careers and acting) is the only career that I know of where everyone tells you that you will be a failure. Creative writing teachers in school tell you that you will never get published, no matter how good you are. Your parents tell you that it’s a fine hobby but really, suck it up and get a real job. Other people in the industry tell you that you won’t make it. Hell, even authors writing books on “how to write” tell you that despite the chances of you making it being astronomically small, you should follow your dream. But really, it’s kind of a stupid dream and you’re not going anywhere with it.
My biggest fear about writing has always been that I would end up as “that person on American idol”. You know the one, the person who tells Ryan Seacrest that they’re awesome, they have tons of talent, and they’re going to knock the house down and they get up on stage and everyone boos them because they suck worse than anyone in the history of singing.
So I send off these short stories while I work on my novels as a way to test the waters. To see if anyone on this planet other than myself thinks I am capable of writing. The problem is – they are short stories, which are entirely different from novels and I even write short stories with a different style than full books.
Being a writer has been the loneliest, most humbling, most depressing thing I’ve ever done. So what am I going to do? Keep writing, of course.