Monday, January 25, 2010

A Step On The Road To Publishing

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.~Henry Ford

Quotes from noted people help me find ideas for the blog. While the quote above may pertain to Henry Ford's own life and his auto world, these wise words can be adapted to the writing life, too.

Substitute the word 'rejection' for 'failure' and perhaps substitute 'creatively' for 'intelligently.' Now, the sentence will read Rejection is simply the opportunity to begin again more creatively.

Every writer deals with rejections on work that has been done with blood, sweat and tears. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but they know they've worked hard, and then the piece comes bouncing back from an editor with one of those dreaded form letters. It says something like "doesn't fit into our editorial needs" or "we have recently published a similar article' or "we are sorry, but we cannot use this." What now?

You have two choices. You can get angry, dump the entire submission from your files, never to be looked upon again by you or any other editor. Or you can step back and look at the article/story/essay with an objective eye. Ask yourself why the editor didn't grab onto this gem immediately. And answer honestly! When you read it, does it grab you quickly? Does it make you want to continue reading? Does it flow well? Does the ending leave you feeling satisfied, or with a question answered? If you answer no to any of these questions, it's time to do some revising and become a little more creative.

Many times, I've read some of my writing of several years ago and I can see so clearly what it needed. Why I didn't see it when I wrote it is a wonder. But it's a common occurrence. It's another reason to let your work sit awhile before sending it to an editor. Wait several days and read it again, then ask yourself what you might do to zip it up a bit, make it sing rather than sink.

Rejection is not an end. Rejection is a step in the long road to publication. It's an opportunity to revise and create a better article/story/essay. Move on to the next step. It's all part of that perseverance and patience that I harp on a lot.

1 comment:

  1. I whole-heartedly agree, Nancy! A writer should NEVER throw away those rejected works! I have a file specifically for "unpublished," and some of the articles/stories in there are months -- even years old! But you're absolutely right: going back to them much later is like reading something someone else has written, and we can finally look at those pieces objectively. Most often, I'm able to pick out right away the reason(s) I got a rejection on it, and that makes me feel so much better that I've grown as a writer. It also puts the potential back into a piece and gives me the push I need to resub it! Another great article here! Thank you!