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Friday, May 18, 2012

You Can't Win if You Don't Play

Image courtesy of Clkr.com

"The only writers 
who are NOT 
receiving rejection letters 
on a regular basis 
are those writers 
who are not 
submitting queries, 
articles, stories, or book proposals 
on a regular basis. 
Rejection is just 
part of the business of writing."

~ Suzanne Lieurance

You've probably heard that old saying about the lottery: You can't win if you don't play.  Becoming a writer is a lot like that, I've learned.  You won't have any poems or stories or books if you don't take the time and hard work to write them, and you can't get published if you never submit anything.  Yes, submitting something you've written may (and probably will... in the beginning, at least) lead to rejection, but you just have to keep on submitting if you want to see your work in print someday.

Back in January, I wrote a post about my goals for the new year.  In it, I said that I wanted to write more poems and short stories, submit more of my writing to magazines, begin another novel, and also find an agent.  I have been working on the finding-an-agent goal, I just haven't had any luck with it yet.  (So far, I've sent queries to 3 different literary agents.  I've received two rejections, and am still waiting to hear something back from the third.  If I don't hear back from that agent in five more weeks, that means she is not interested, and I'll send query #4.)  The other goals, however, have remained just that -- goals.  I've done very little writing over the past few months.

Up until a few weeks ago, I did have a valid excuse for not writing any poems, stories, or novels.  Health issues (very painful ones), major surgery, and then six weeks of agonizing recovery after that made it difficult for me to concentrate long enough to string more than few sentences together in one sitting.  Even just writing a cover letter for a magazine submission seemed like a daunting task when I was in that fog of pain.  Since the end of April, though, I've been feeling much better, and the only things keeping me from writing or submitting things already written have been a healthy dose of laziness and a smidgen (or two or three) of self-doubt.

That stops today.  I've promised myself that I will get back to writing and submitting.  Today.  (And, hopefully, by writing this down and making it public on this blog, I'll hold myself accountable to that promise!)

I've been looking through some of the poems I wrote last year.  While I haven't totally squelched those feelings of self-doubt I mentioned earlier (do they ever go away entirely, I wonder?), I found that I am actually quite pleased with several of my poems.  I did a little research to see which children's magazines the poems would be appropriate for, and plan to head to the post office with them later today.

I'm also planning to get back in the habit of writing something new every day.  (In fact, I'm thinking that in June I will challenge myself to write a poem a day.  Anyone else want to join this challenge?)  I'll need to carve out some quiet time from my busy schedule every day and force myself to write.  It's easier said than done -- I know from past experience -- but it's something that's important to me, something that I really want to accomplish.  After all, you can't win if you don't play....

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