I think this is one of the parts of kick-starting a writing career that *isn’t* fun. The novel is grinding along, and the rejections are pouring in for my short work. Everywhere I turn it seems I hear “this was good but…” which as all the how-to books and advice out there will tell you is a very good thing ™ and a sign of progress ™.
What they don’t tell you is that almost good enough starts to get really really depressing after the first couple of near-misses. Yay, my writing is improving. Yay editors are clearly reading the entirety of my stories before they dash off the rejection note. Yay, progress! Head down, keep going. Right? Well, sure. Not much else I can do. But it’s frustrating (and I doubt any established writer would tell me that it wasn’t frustrating for them in the beginning either, or even still is on occasion). And who knows how many years of near-missing I’ll have to muddle through? At Worldcon I met a woman who’s been getting those nice rejections for 11 years without a single sale. Now, I suppose she could have been lying about the nature of the rejections, and to be fair she only sends out five or six stories a year, but still. 11 years. Frankly, I just don’t know if I have that kind of fortitude. I joke about 500 rejections, but can I really hang on without a single sale through 479 more of these? My spreadsheet that tracks what is out where is starting to look like a mess of black and the word Rejected covers the screen.
On the somewhat plus side, I’m nearly done with the novel. It’s slow going, my normal cruising speed has been down to a third because I’m having to carefully pull together two storylines and three POV characters. And here I thought the ending would be a cakewalk to write. Nothing is predictable about this process, is it? Technically I gave myself the deadline of the end of the month, but I’ve got about 15k words left I think. So it’s not going to be done tomorrow. By the weekend though, hopefully. Then I can put it aside and worry about something else for a while. (And maybe, by the time I’m done I’ll know about my WotF entry? Maybe… though I suppose at this stage no news could be good news.)
Don’t worry. I haven’t been rejected to death yet. I promised myself ten novels and ten years. Will I be a ranting crazy person or a catatonic ball by the end? Perhaps. Or I might be a selling writer.
Only one way to be the latter: Finish this damn novel.