My Writing Journey: Failure 1, 1/22/2019
What proceeds is a lesson in failure.
As a fiction writer (and probably just in general), publications are the ticket to success on the blogging platform Medium. Anyone can create a publication, though, so you have to find one that’s reputable and still operational.
I found a publication on Medium that publishes fiction. Even better, the editor was self-described as a Japanophile and drawn to dark material. I thought that my story “Asleep in Nara” would be a perfect fit. I contacted the editor, received a request for a sample, sent it, and waited. A couple of weeks passed.
Today, I received the rejection email.
I knew this was coming, and I know many more will come. I was upset for about half a minute, but my reaction after that surprised even me: now, I’m pissed off.
I’m not upset with the editor or the journal. They get a small sample of writing and have to make a judgment call about how the work fits with the theme they’re going for. It’s a business decision; I get it. I used to work for a literary journal, so I’ve had to make those decisions and deliver the bad news. It’s nothing personal.
I don’t know if I can tell you exactly what I’m angry about. I suppose some of it is self-directed: I’m angry I didn’t execute the writing well enough to convince someone to pick it up. I’m angry at the universe in general, maybe. But that’s just misplaced frustration, and I know it. That’s just the irritation of working nine to five and being too tired to write afterward. I’m angry at God, I guess. I hear those grudges always end well.
I’m angry that I’ve wasted so much time already.
What I can report is that, perhaps in a juvenile manner, I find the anger motivating. Like it or not, I’ve always worked better with a little burning resentment, a chip on my shoulder. No need to change the formula now, I suppose.
So I sat down, wrote this, listened to some All Get Out, and determined my next steps.
I have two short stories I’ve written over the past couple of weeks. I’m going to find publications to submit those to. I’m not going for Medium publications, though. I’m submitting to The Atlantic or something of that caliber. Maybe I’m grossly overestimating my own ability here, but I don’t know any way to succeed except to try. Before I do that, however, I’m going to write for an hour or two.
Let me leave you with a few lines from All Get Out that I always find motivating in a backward ass kind of way:
“In the end, you’re free to be the sum of all your failures or turn it inside out to meet the final narrative.”