Monday, August 22, 2011

Ups and Downs

From the Speakers: SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT by Nirvana

Beginning a writing career is a series of ups and downs. Today was an exaggerated example.

One of the best books on writing is the aptly titled "On Writing" by Stephen King, who's one of my all-time favorites. In it, he describes how he posted his rejection letters on a pin above his writing desk, as a reminder. Eventually, they got to be so numerous that he required a spike to keep them all there.

If this was good enough for one of the best writers, it was good enough for me. Today I added another rejection to my stack (nailed to a bulletin board on my wall)--Scholastic was considering a novel I wrote called "The Duelers" since March, and today they got back to me with a negative.

If it strikes you as odd to display my failures, consider this: the rejection letters are reminders that I'm shopping stories around. You can't make the team if you don't tryout. The letters mean you've taken that all-important step and been brave and put yourself out there. It's a good feeling, even if you don't get accepted--it starts the snowball rolling. And it means that someone in the publishing world is reading your story, maybe even remembering your name. I mean, someone at SCHOLASTIC was reading my book! I feel like that's a win.

Meanwhile, after checking my email I found a letter from the editors of one my favorite magazines, Ray Gun Revival, saying they wanted to publish my short story, "Good Business, With Guns." Whoa! Just the pick-me-up I was looking for! I'll post the link up here when it comes up.

Both those stories were out for months, and both came back today--one positive, one negative. But that's writing. Now that I think about it, I guess that's life.


  1. Devin! I just wrote an awesome comment and it got deleted, so I'll rewrite in bullet point:
    - LOVED the rejection letter story, for the very reason you stated
    - If it is okay w/ you and King (of course) I may be stealing that idea very soon!
    - CONGRATS on your short story!!!
    - I will keep coming back here for updated
    - GOOD LUCK :)

  2. Hi, I just read Good Business and I would love to read it on my weekly program on community supported radio station WRFR ( of which the Beam Me Up podcast is an off shot. The story has a nice fast pace that will make it an excellent opening story on a future episode. After RGR obligations are done, let me know if I can read it. Or just send me a note if you have questions. Thanks