It’s the shortest day / longest night of the year, and in the ‘old’ days (the really old days), celebrations focused on the end to the darkness and a welcoming of the light. From now until June, the Sol will shine its light on us poor humans a little bit longer every day.
I generally spend the Solstice doing a little soul searching of my own. I review my goals and aspirations of the previous year, and compose my list of resolutions for the coming year. And I must say, that although I met the writing goals I set for myself this year (I completed two novels and wrote three short stories), my professional standing at the end of the year has not changed significantly since the beginning of the year.
I just received yet another in a countless string of rejections yesterday, this one for my short story entry for unpublished writers contest. To be fair, the rejection email had been sent weeks ago, but in the email kerfuffle of my move, I’d not received it, and spent the last two weeks anticipating a more favorable outcome to close out the year. It would have been nice, but I’m busy writing another short story right now, so I don’t have time to feel bad about it.
Besides, for writers, that kind of thing happens to everyone. In an NBC interview last night, mega-bestselling author James Patterson explained that his first book sold less than 10,000 copies, in spite of winning an Edgar award. Given that he’s now the highest-selling author in the world I choose to take his story as one of inspiration.
And the reality is that after three years, rejections barely bother me anymore. I’m too focused on my (new) work-in-progress to spend much time worrying about the stuff that’s already finished. I also think it helps to have a lot of pans in the fire. When you have only one manuscript completed, or one short story you’re trying to sell, I think the rejections sting a lot more, because all your eggs are in one basket. But as your inventory of completed manuscripts and stories begins to build, you get a lot busier keeping them moving, and thus have less time to spend mulling over the rejections.
I have little or no control over what happens to my stories after they’re written, but I can and do control how much I write, make sure I finish everything I write, continue to send out everything I finish, and make sure my writing continues to improve. This year I had editor requests for fulls on two different manuscripts, and I’ve got several short stories floating around, looking for work. I’ve got prospects.
So today I’ve reaffirmed my commitment to my daily writing quota for 2013. I’ve got some great writing classes lines up, and I’m going to work on strengthening my professional network through my online presence, and attending writing conferences and conventions. I cannot control how or when my work will be professionally published, but I can make sure that I do everything possible to put out my very best work. I am determined that this will be the year my work sees the light of publication. Sunny days are ahead.