Please click here to read my story “Alive in the Wolf’s Belly” and the rest of the Little Red Riding Hood Issue.
I am so pleased to be included in this, the final issue of Enchanted Conversation*. It is such a fantastic publication and I am honored to be included among the ranks of authors such as Elizabeth Twist and Amanda C. Davis.
Additionally, this is my first professional story sale. I’ve been trying for a year to break into the professional market–publications that pay at least 5 cents a word–and this is my very first success in that endeavor. Definitely a day to go down in my personal history books!
I must confess, however, that I do have a worry. “Alive in the Wolf’s Belly” is easily the best story I’ve ever written, in my opinion. If I can keep churning out work of this quality, continuing to find homes for my stories in professional publications should be no problem. But can I continue to write at this level?
I’m not sure that I can. I don’t mean that I won’t eventually be producing consistently great work–but right now, I don’t know that I can deliver that wallop with every tale. My writing is still inconsistent and the quality varies. That’s natural, of course; writing is like anything else, you practice until you are really good at it. And there will be fits and starts and successes and failures and highs and lows, until finally you break through “the gap” and your work is consistently good 99% of the time, because you have just practiced that much. It becomes second nature: muscle memory, if you will.
I’m not quite there yet, but for the first time I can see a glimmer of that reality on the horizon, promising a future I stopped believing in years ago. And that is very, very exciting.
*As it turns out, this won’t be the final issue–but the format for payment is changing so that the best stories and poems will be awarded gift certificate prizes instead of straight payment. Click here to read the new guidelines.
Congrats on the story. Not every piece is as good on the second read, but I enjoyed yours this time as much as the first time I read it.
I’m also glad to see that Enchanted Conversations will continue in some format. I read their new guidelines, and I’ll be adding them back to my list of possible venues. The only thing that gave me pause was the statement that they reserve the right to archive stories indefinitely. That could keep some stories out of certain reprint markets (maybe that point could be negotiated if another market gets huffy about it. Huffy? See what I did there?).
I think your worry is pretty typical. Half the time I think I only get acceptances because someone fumbles the REJECT button and are too polite to admit the mistake. I have a personal goal that when I write something, it’s better than what I’ve written before. So far, every attempt to surpass my “best” story has failed, but that hasn’t stopped me from placing other pieces.
I think worrying too much about whether what you write is up to the standards of what you’ve written before is a mistake. Write the best story you can, then fire it off and forget about it (if possible). It’s never up to us whether a story is going to “click” with an editor or push them into a sputtering rage. Every time I think I’ve “figured out” a market, I seem to get a lightning fast rejection shattering that perception.
While maintaining a certain level of quality is key, so is overall production. Since we’ll never really know what’s going to connect with a reader, getting as much of our stuff to them as possible is the only way to ensure that SOMETHING will eventually connect. Also, the more pieces you produce, the more likely it is you’ll stumble across that perfect story where everything just falls into place.
As writers, I think we all get that feeling when we KNOW, with absolute certainty, that a particular piece is “special.” In the meantime, “pretty good” works too (or hoping that an editor is roaring drunk when they try to reject your piece).
Thank you Rob! It helps to know I’m not the only one who struggles with the unknown…
Congrats! And if it helps, just remember, you’re writing because you *like* it. That’s the key, for me at least. Your writing quality will go up and down, with an overall upward trend, but your enjoyment of writing will see you through the uncertainty and fears that we all suffer. Keep your chin up! Keep writing. Keep on loving the process, despite the rejections. That’s the only way to feed your muse, and harvest her rich rewards (publication!). At least for me.
Thanks Mary! That’s great advice!
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