It’s a wonderful morning here in the Philippines.
The skies are crystal blue, the weather’s not too stuffy, the wind’s great, the day’s nice…
Then I look at my email.
It’s another rejection slip from one of those literary journals. YAY!
This is now my 23rd rejection slip across different genres (poetry, creative nonfiction, essay, etc.) since I started trying my hand at submitting literary stuff back in September 2017.
Looking back, I realized that I totally deserved to have half of those “bad and cold form rejection slips” simply because I didn’t send my best shot.
Editors remember who wrote what, despite the myths that may circulate about the said matter.
On the other hand, a good half could be published elsewhere…or just needs 10% more work in order to become a better piece.
At least I’m happy to know that I actually did some progress, even if it doesn’t yet lead to publication.
Writing is indeed an exercise in frustration.
There’s no way to actually measure how much I advanced in my craft. Publications, awards and acclaim aren’t even reliable barometers. It’s the same with “your soul is happy with it, your heart is at peace with it” bullshit – I don’t also think they are accurate representations of
Probably the closest one is “writing without regrets, writing at your best.”
Frankly, it’s easy to point out why in the world I’m currently experiencing this phase.
I’m not reading enough, that’s for sure. I might be able to say that I’m allotting two hours per day on reading, researching and writing – but God and the angels know that it’s way below the recommended footwork that’s needed to become a decent writer anyway.
As for writing, Stephen King has mentioned that people should write at least 10 pages a day (around five to six thousand words, give or take), or work on writing-related stuff for four to six hours a day. I fail miserably in that department right now.
Then there comes research, experience and application. I do hope to improve all of those skills in time, particularly the interpersonal aspects of it.
The solution’s quite simple actually – read more, write more and get good at it, for if everyone’s to be believed, good writing will appear if one works at it.
But sometimes, the rejection trail just gets really tedious, despite the fact that writers are supposed to accept to “write and expect it to fail.”
Most of the time, it just says “better luck next time, this piece is not for us, this is not a good fit for our publication, etc.”
Then, there are the better form rejections, like “Try us again, we encourage you to write more, we wish you the best of luck placing it in another publication, etc.” At least there’s hope though?
I have already expected something like this at the very beginning.
My only consolation lies in knowing that I have still a lot of room to improve and that I have the time to do it.
I don’t know the definition of giving up to be honest. However, I’m pretty sure that when I’m mentally tired of it, I guess that’s when real capitulation comes in.
Despite what may people say about life, such as “humans have different paths” and “each question paper in life is different,” I can’t help but compare myself to those around me at times.
But then, I realized that they put in monstrous amounts of work for their age. One writer even write 30-40 fan fiction stories up to whatever age he/she is in right now – and yes, that person’s a Clarion graduate, a published writer and pretty much on the way to become the best, all before 30 years of age.
There’s another writer – hey, actually a very famous one – who can finish 20,000-ish words in less than one day. Sure, he’s quite old, but I look up at him a lot.
And then we’re not even counting yet the people who won Hugos, Nebulas and all that glittering stuff before 30.
Well, all I know for certain is that I should start earning my own chops now.
Anyways, I’ll try to have that master’s degree in creative writing as soon as possible. Maybe that will help me with understanding the real feelings (or zeitgeist, or whatever one wants to call it) of this century when it comes to writing.
I like to think that I don’t suck at observing people or the society around me – however, it just so happens that I don’t know batshit about it.
Well, I guess that when everything else fails…
I have enough skill to be a beat reporter of a regional newspaper.