2017 has begun on a good note for me. Even though there was no big change around me, I could still feel it – the transition from one year into the next. There was a vibe that said this was the official beginning of new projects and adventures. My first two days were very productive – I’d made lists in my bullet journal of the things I’d wanted to do in this winter break – even though I did not do everything I’d listed. I told myself it wasn’t about doing everything; it was about doing what was important, and I think I was able to achieve that.
However, what made the beginning of the year so special was that on the third of January I received an email from the editor of Flash Fiction Magazine, telling me he would like to publish the story I’d sent to him. I’d made a goal to get published in 10 literary magazines this year, and now I’m already one tenth of the way. There’s a sudden urge in me to do more: to write more and send things out in to the world and get them published. I’m even having the crazy thought of increasing my goal to getting published in 12 or 20 magazines. Who knows? If I keep trying, it might really happen and I might no longer be crazy to have made that goal.
During all these months when I was writing stories, hoping to see them published on some platform one day, I had told myself that when one of my pieces would actually get accepted, I would no longer have to worry whether my writing was really good and had worth because literary magazines only publish the best work they get. But here’s a problem I hadn’t seen coming: now that I’ve got something finally published and I’m so fueled up to work harder to get more of my work out in to the world, I’m doubting whether the next piece I write will be good enough or not.
It’s really weird, but when I’d sent my story out, I was half-hoping to receive a rejection because I’d read somewhere that all good writers get rejected. I thought that if I get rejected, it will confirm that I’m a good writer. My mind works oddly. What it meant was that even if you get rejected, you should keep working hard. And instead, I derived an entirely different meaning out of it. Maybe I was thinking that receiving an acceptance after several rejections will make it worth it, but I’m not sure now whether I really had that thought.
Then I read an article on LIT Hub, ‘Why You Should Aim For 100 Rejections A Year‘. The title intrigued me and I decided to check it out because it was in complete contrast with my goal to get published in 10 (not 100) literary magazines. The author, Kim Liao, says that receiving so many rejections means you’re working your ass off, and that’s a good thing. When you’re sending out so many pieces, you’ll surely receive a few acceptance letters too.
That completely changed the way I’d planned to work this year. Now I haven’t really written this statement anywhere and still am undecided whether I should really add it to my list of goals to get rejected a hundred times this year, but I liked the concept behind the idea: hard work. As a true Hufflepuff, I cannot emphasize it enough. I’m still unsure about the next story I’m working on, but I won’t know how good or bad it is until I send it out. The only thing I’ve got to do is work.
I’m going to work, but I’m also going to remember that someone out there who doesn’t know me thinks what I’ve written is good. It’s a small piece, 996 words to be exact, but it’s a start, and every little achievement matters and deserves to be celebrated. It just feels better to have your writing officially approved to be good by those who know what they are doing.
Also,this week has also been about reading as much as about writing. I’ve taken the Ray Bradbury Challenge this year, and have come across some really good writing over the week, which I’ve shared on the challenge’s page. I haven’t started reading any book yet, but I hope I finish the ones I’m halfway through.
How was your week, and what are you planning to do next?