Last December, I was embarrassed when composing my list of New Years resolutions; for the umpteenth year in a row, I had vowed that I was going to have a work of fiction formally published. For the umpteenth year in a row, I swore that this time, I really meant it; this time, I was determined; this time, I was going to get it done. And for the umpteenth year in a row, I feared that I was once again just blowing hot air.
But not this time. No; for the first time in my life, I have had a fictional manuscript accepted for publication by an actual, honest-to-goodness, paying journal!
Now, if you don’t mind my engaging in a bit of egotism, this has been a long time coming. I know that I have been getting progressively better over the last few years. At first, the rejections I got from publishers were sent to me as form letters. Gradually, they started to focus in on more specific complaints: the story was too long, the ending was unsatisfactory, and so forth. After that, they starting sending my stories back for revisions (although they ultimately rejected the revised forms). Then, I started getting brief, pretty little rejections, saying things like: “it’s a good story, but it’s not really my style.” And then, finally: acceptance.
In truth, it took me longer than it should have; the problem was that, after each rejection, I was so crushed by feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt that it took me months to submit again. And I have no illusions that I won’t be receiving any more rejections in the future. But the difference is that now, I at least know that it can be done. So there is nothing for it but to try to capitalize upon this victory by writing some more!