Writing Advice For Winners: Eat Your Lima Beans!

Aaand we’re right back into the swim of it.

Rejections from three different editors on three different stories in the last 24 hours.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; rejections don’t bother me. I’ve long since stopped taking them personally. I’m a writer. It goes with the territory–like a kid being told he can’t have dessert until he eats his veggies first. To a writer, rejections are like a big ol’, never-ending plate of of lima beans with an ice cream brownie fudge sundae on the other side. You don’t have to like lima beans, but you’ve got to eat a lot of them before you get a bite of sundae.

Editors have their own plate of lima beans, and it’s called slush. They’re looking for something delectable to publish. If I give it to them, they’ll pay me to publish it. If I don’t, well, then this wasn’t the editor I was looking for (eat a lima bean and move along).

But wait a minute. The thing of it is, I just won this big contest, see? I’m a real writer now, see?

Tell it to the lima beans. Makes no difference whatsoever (although one editor did congratulate me on my recent win).

At the writers workshop last month, Eric Flint spoke to us about what we can expect for the future, now that we’re winners. He was a WOTF winner in 1992 and and sold his first novel three years later.  He’s since gone on to publish publish 48 novels (including 6 NY Times best-sellers). He gave us this excellent advice:

  • You are all now on the threshold of several frustrating years, facing even more rejection.
  •  Good writing is really not all that common, but editors hate going to the slush pile to find stories. There is a saying that editors choose 1 of every 400 stories.
  • If you write well, they’ll know it. But it doesn’t mean they’ll buy your story. Your story may not fit. The length may be wrong
  • The rejections will continue, but keep writing.
  • Don’t give up.

And based on what I’ve seen so far, he was right.  Well alrighty then.

And then today, on the heels of yet another ‘not right for us, but please send more‘, Chuck Wendig wrote THIS lovely bit of brownie sundae advice which in one sense reinforces what Eric said and which I also found reassuring (often just the word ‘fuck’ used in a sentence makes me feel better, and when Chuck does it I usually laugh).

So that’s it. That’s all I got. Your milage may vary.

I gotta go put my stories back in the mail and eat some more lima beans.

This entry was posted in 2015, Chuck Wendig, don't quit, editors, Eric Flint, persevere, rejection, Sharon Joss, Writing Advice and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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