Existential angst…or how do you keep going when nothing is going your way?

Lately it seems as if I can’t do anything right. At any given time I have ten or more stories out for submission to various calls and all I am getting back are rejections. Even stories that made the short list other places are getting summarily rejected. Depending on what happens with my publisher I may need to find a new home for the remainder of my paranormal series (or self-publish). A book that has been on a revise/resubmit to another publisher got lost when the editor left and when they looked into it after I followed up I was informed that it had been rejected in January and they had no record of my resubmission. Luckily I had all my emails, including the one from two months ago where I resubmitted it based on that original editor’s request. I considered it not so much a rejection as an offer to take another look after I’d tightened it up. That worked for my paranormal which comes out in June. I was able to fix the misunderstanding but I am now back to square one with that publisher. The good news is that they are considering it as if it is a new submission. The bad news is that it is another two month wait to know if they want the story. It made me want to give up, throw in the towel, and walk away.

So…how do you keep going when nothing is going your way?

Right now is one of those bad times where the tape in my head is extremely negative. It’s telling me “you suck, give up, what the heck have you been thinking?” It’s always easy to believe. It’s harder to believe the opposite: that I have talent, people like my work, and a 15% acceptance rate for short stories is pretty good. When the rejections pile on it can be hard to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and find another market to submit the story to. It seems much more rewarding to curl up in a ball on the sofa with a quart of butter pecan ice cream and Netflix. And…there may have been a bit of that this weekend. When I should have been packing for Romantic Times and getting everything together for my pitch meetings I was watching “Salvage Dawgs” and “Caribbean Life.”

The good news is that unlike ten years ago I don’t actually let rejection stop me. I wallow for a bit, as I did this weekend, and I still haven’t shut the negative tape off, but I’m moving forward. I’m writing every day, just like I always do, and editing stories for some new calls coming up. I’ve got a wonderful novella coming out in a Roane Publishing collection called “Masked Hearts” in a month which you will be seeing more of in my blogs shortly. And of course I’ve got the big kahuna, my Samhain full-length release “Fire Danger” in June. Which, I just discovered, will also be available in paperback. That’s the good stuff that I should be focusing on but it is always easier to believe the negative. I’m working on that.

Yes I will always fall into existential angst when things like this happen. My heart sank when I read the word “rejection” from that other publisher, but it wasn’t a flat out rejection, it was an offer to resubmit. Once I worked through the feeling of being not good enough I remembered that. I spent a month really fine tuning that story based on the editor’s comments and it is a better story. As a writer you send your stories into the ozone of calls for submission and then wait…and wait…until you sometimes want to scream. For every yay of acceptance there are ten boos of rejection. When I get my next acceptance I will be on the moon again. This is simply a time to slog through. I will get through it. As long as I keep writing and editing and trying to make myself a better writer I will get through it. It’s only if I give up that I truly fail. I need to turn that tape off and get back to work.

Which reminds me, “Alone” by Horrified Press came out on April 10th with one of my stories in it. Oh yeah. That. Maybe I don’t suck after all.

 Claire Davon


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