Country Roads…

This week, I’ve been a bit busy with professional and personal things, and I’ve been a little ill, as well. It’s been a struggle, but we’re here. Cross your fingers, everyone, that the coming week will be better. Some of my writer-related events are growing ever closer, and I need my health to be… well, better than normal… to get through them successfully.

Country Roads' Take Me Inside Appalachia | WVPB

I’ve been thinking about opportunity and perception this week. In the past it’s been my worry that my return address was the reason for rejection in the past. I worry that publishers (of both short stories and novels) take one look at a return address that says “West Virginia” and decide that they don’t want to deal with someone that they perceive as uneducated and with nothing to say that could possibly be relevant to the world at large.

It’s taken me quite a while to get beyond those thoughts.

I’m sure that I’m not the only one to have these types of thoughts, either. We all have fallen victim to stereotypes of our own, and sometimes our own thoughts can be the most destructive in any career. They all boil down to this:

I’m not good enough.

Except…you are. Or at least you can be. Are you sending out piece after piece and still getting rejected? Take a close look at your piece. Make another editing pass. Give it to a set of “fresh eyes” to review and critique. Put aside your thoughts of “I’m the best!” and learn to take critique and advice gracefully (by the way, I know you have those superiority thoughts – we’re artists, and writers – those thoughts are part and parcel with our genetic makeup).

Then, keep submitting. Your work will speak for itself. Still getting rejected? Take a close look at your cover letter / query letter. Are you putting your best foot forward with your letter? Does your story’s short description have a hook that really draws the reader in? Is your grammar good? Does your excitement for your story, and your writing, show through? If not, rewrite it! And just like your story needs fresh eyes to make an editing and critique pass, your query letter could benefit from one of those passes, too.

Making your writing and your cover / query letter the best they can be is a process that takes time. It shouldn’t be approached flippantly, and both deserve the kind of attention and thought that creating your story in the first place takes. Give it what it deserves, and you’ll be successful. Don’t let a few rejections color your attitude toward continuing to submit your work in the future. Your work will find a home, eventually. No one ever said it would be a quick process.

So, remember, it’s not just you. Find the hitch, fix it, and keep going.

Have a fantastic week to come, everyone! And keep writing!

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