Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Once upon a time, I became a writer

Once upon a time, I became a writer. For eight long and often discouraging years I wrote and submitted stuff. Mostly short stories. I dreamed and hoped and prayed of one day getting published. I gathered rejection after rejection after rejection. I cried and banged my head on the desk and kept writing and kept submitting.

Then one day I opened my email to find an acceptance letter. Somebody wanted to buy one of my stories! I almost couldn't believe it was true. I cried again for happiness. I danced and celebrated.

But the weeks started to go by and the time the editor said he'd contact me again passed. The website hadn't been updated in a while. I started to worry. I saw the magazine on a list of dead markets. I emailed the editor. He said sorry. He'd hoped to publish the rest of his inventory, but it wasn't happening. I was free to submit the story elsewhere.

I was crushed. Heartbroken. I wanted to give up.

I didn't. I submitted that story and all the others again and again and again. A few months later another magazine bought the story and in July 2003, I finally got to see myself in print. With an illustration even. And reviewers who'd never even met me said nice things about my story. Joy. =)

I'm not sure why I'm telling you this. Maybe it's just to remind myself how far I've come already. Because, frankly, this whole last week I have felt like giving up. Like it just isn't worth the effort.

But it is.

Today, I read this in the January 2011 Ensign (a magazine for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints):

"Sometimes we try hard to achieve something, but our own efforts, however great, are insufficient for the task. I know Heavenly Father can bless us for our faith and obedience with even greater blessings than we hoped for initially...My toil will not have been in vain."

And in another article: "You are here on earth at this time for a reason. You have what it takes. You have skills, knowledge, and natural talents given to you from God...Take these things that are yours and have a great life!"

And I read this blog post. It really hit home for me.

So, thank you, Lord for your tender mercies today. Tomorrow I'm going to jump back into this with both feet!

17 comments:

David J. West said...

Right on, hang in there Angie. I have had three rejections this year already-makes the one acceptance I've recieved all the sweeter.

Th. said...

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It's so true, Angie (and thanks for the link). I'm feeling like a new writer all over again as I wait to hear from university programs I've just applied to. I thought I was used to balancing rejections with the occasional acceptance, but I'm suddenly more nervous than I've been in a long time.

Melissa said...

Hang in there Angie. It'll happen one day.

Medeia Sharif said...

You have come far with the short stories. :)

I know about the bitterness of thinking I made it with something and then having my dreams dashed. But I kept going. That's what writers need to do to see themselves in print.

AstonWest said...

Writing is a depressing business with all the rejection, seemingly on personal opinion much of the time. Even after acceptances become normal, it doesn't bring an end to the rejections.

Keep on pushing to improve, because that's the only way to succeed.

Heck, I had one story which everyone rejected. I posted it up on Smashwords and had significant success (in terms of number of reads). Without me even asking, one of the places who'd rejected it the first time around came back and asked to publish it (the same story, no changes, from the one I'd sent them in the first place). Go figure...

Terry W. Ervin II said...

Glad you're hanging in there, Angie!

I've had several stories accepted, only to have the market close with my work unpublished. Actually I just got an email from a long-standing market that paid pretty well saying they were going on hiatus and releasing my accepted story. Like you, I'll be sending it out again. Like the others, I hope it too eventually finds a home.

And I hope your works find the right homes. With time and effort and a little luck, I suspect they will!

Angie said...

Hey everyone! How nice to come up here this morning to all your kind words and encouragement. David, you're right. The acceptances are much sweeter when that way! Th., good luck with your university programs. Thanks for stopping by! Thanks, Melissa. You're a sweetie. Todd, I love that story. I may have to look into Smashwords more closely. Terry, sorry about your story. I'll bet it's terrific. Thanks for the encouragement.

ali said...

Oh, this is wonderful in so many ways. ((hugs)) Angie. And ... thank you!

Angela Felsted said...

I've racked up nothing but rejections for my poetry lately. And my novel writing hasn't gone much better. Just keep on chugging. You can do it.

Theresa Milstein said...

Thanks for sharing your writing struggle and perseverance. I've been trying to get published for almost 5 years. I don't really send to magazines since I don't write many short stories. But I have a few small contests. I'll keep at it. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

Kim Coates said...

I'm so sorry you were feeling like that. I know that most writers go through the ups and downs, but it's no fun when your in the down. Those are great quotes. You've helped to motivate me.

The quote I put on my blog today may also help (it did me!).

"The Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit." - Moliere

Good luck as you dive back in! I'll look for great things from you.

kbrebes said...

You down? NEVER! Okay, so I finally have to accept that you're human like the rest of us. Truly, you're terrific, Angie. If you ever feel like giving up again, then think of me because I KNOW how great your writing is. You'll make it. I have no doubt.

Angie said...

Aw, thanks Kathleen. You're so sweet.

Maria Hoagland said...

I know how you feel, sort of. Best of luck on your efforts and we'll all keep trying to improve and keep at it. Persistence!

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Determination is one of the most sympathetic character traits. :-) I admire your strength, Angie!

Angie said...

Thank you so much Maria and Rosslyn. Can't tell you guys how much I appreciate all the support.

thewritewords-lindsey said...

This is so uplifting. What you’ve just described seems to be the story of a lot of writers, but unfortunately many of them do not have enough determination to turn into authors. You did it though and for that you should be proud. Even if you’re experiencing that blackness from before, remember all you’ve already accomplished!