Ah, here’s a tiny peek into one week in the life of Mr. Ainscott, an early-career professional writer:
- Six rejections received, including two on the same story (some of the online professional-paying markets are ridiculously fast these days!). All form rejections this week; it comes with the territory, I’m afraid, and it’s what makes those online markets so fast to respond.
- Six pieces sent back out in the mail, including one new story.
- A couple sales of my short story, Trinity of the Sands for Kindle, trickled in (and whoever you are, dear reader, thank you very much for plunking down a hard-earned dollar to read my story). It’s not much but actually I’m super-excited about that as this blog is new, I only have a smattering of stories up right now, and I haven’t been doing any promotion of the stories that are there at all as of yet.
On this last point, check out Dean Wesley Smith’s post about doing the math on indie publishing. All you need is a few sales trickling in on each of your stories, and if you write and keep on writing, it doesn’t take too long for it all to add up. Plus we are still in the early days of the massive shift to electronic reading that is coming, and much sooner than anyone expected. Paper books aren’t going to die completely, but it sure will seem that way in a few years– or maybe even sooner.
In other words, the writers who will succeed are the writers who can write and keep writing– even while holding down a full-time job, as I do.
This echoes, in fact, a more general truth about the modern ecosystem of information workers and creative professionals that Richard Florida identifies in The Rise of the Creative Class:
“The winners in the long run are those who can create and keep creating.”
Note this doesn’t say anything about avoiding failures, or rewriting, or only churning out great works of literature. If you’re failing, then you need to fail faster. If all your submissions are getting form-rejected, you need to write more and more and get rejected faster, because that is the only way to learn. To get better. To write a story so damned full of awesomeness that they have to take it.
I have a colleague who used to evaluate high-tech startup companies. He would go and meet them and talk with everyone and sit through their PowerPoint slides and all of that.
But then, when the day was over, he would sneak out back and look at what they had in their dumpster. If it was just full of paper and post-it notes and discarded coffee cups, then he knew it was all bluster and they couldn’t be trusted.
But if it was full of sawed-up plywood and crazy busted contraptions with wires hanging out of them and bent-up sheet metal, then he knew they were really doing something. That they might have something.
A dumpster brimming with discarded ideas was the surest indicator that the start-up was full of creators who weren’t afraid of trying things, that they weren’t afraid of failing, that they were bold enough to create and keep creating.
So, here’s to keeping a full dumpster when it comes to learning my craft as a writer.
Now, back to that word processor…