Write of Way #5 – Write, Submit, Repeat
The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been.
This is it, baby, do or die.
You’ve been working towards this point forever, and now you’re here.
Here, where mettle is tested, where fortunes are won, where…short stories are submitted?
Let me explain.
Last time I wrote a rather impassioned blog about why you should write short stories. Today I’d like to expand on that thought.
Writing short stories is great and wonderful and you should be doing it. But what happens next?
My friends, next comes the bigtime. Fame, fortune, and a horde of paparazzi documenting your every step! Okay, well, maybe not all that. That comes later.
What comes now are contests, magazines, and publications.
All of these are great places to submit your completed short stories. Some will even pay you if they accept your work!
I don’t know about you, but getting paid to write fiction is kinda, oh I don’t know, my greatest aspiration in life?
Nonetheless, I know sometimes it can be hard to send your baby off. It’s no small thing, after all. You’ve labored over this story for days, guided it from the merest sprig of an idea into the wonderful, beautiful adventure it is now.
But send it off you must. Like a weeping parent about to suffer from the world’s worst case of empty nest syndrome, you must send your baby away.
There’s no other way it’ll get published. And when it does, you’ll feel wonderful. All the work and stress and nerves and waiting will have been worth it.
But what if the worst happens? What if the ever-feared “no” comes back?
It will be politely phrased, of course. They’ll let you down easy. But it will still hurt. Rejection always does.
But you know what? You will persevere. Because one person’s “no” is another person’s “yes.”
I’ve experienced it firsthand.
Among my stories that have placed in contests, “In the Garden of Giants” received the most prestigious award. But it didn’t start that way.
It started as a story I submitted to some small contest no one had ever heard of. While somewhere around twenty winning submissions were picked to appear in an anthology, “In the Garden of Giants” was not one of them.
That sucked. I’d worked hard on it and had high hopes for winning the contest. After all, it was just a smaller one. Surely I’d be able to snipe a win out of it.
But life doesn’t always work out how you plan.
Still sulking about the rejection, I perused the internet for other contests. Had to do something with this short story, right?
I’d heard of the Writers of the Future contest before, had even submitted once, but I was a very new writer then and looking back, I’m glad they didn’t pick that first submission.
But here I was, short story in hand, and nowhere to send it. I figured what the hell, and sent it off to Writers of the Future.
And then I forgot about it.
For about three months.
And then I got an email. An email informing me “In the Garden of Giants” had been awarded Honorable Mention!
Cue the celebrations. I was supposed to be working on my novel when the news came in. Needless to say I was a bit derailed. It was a good night.
Anyways, all this to say: roll the dice.
Write your short stories and take a gamble on them. The worst that can happen is someone says no.
The best that can happen…well, I’ll let you find that out for yourself.
Write, submit, repeat. That’s how you get better and better until next thing you know you find yourself hounded by that horde of paparazzi after all.
Write, submit, repeat, my friends.
It’s time to see your name in print!
As always, I love to hear your thoughts. Have you placed in any short story contests? Which ones? How did you handle the waiting period?