One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn being a writer is the amount of patience I have to have to get published. Your first submitted story never makes the cut, so receiving that first acceptance letter takes forever. Years.
I’ve been submitting short stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul since 2014. It’s been a very long, very trying road, and it continues to be, but I keep writing, and I’m still submitting. My writing has improved greatly through the passing time. However, I’ve learned another lesson because of this trying process–don’t look for the email. You’re almost better in forgetting that you submitted a story, but we all know better than to believe we can forget about something we really really want. Whenever Amy Newmark shares a new cover design for a book on Twitter, I save it to my phone. I know and remember the stories I’ve submitted to what titles, I can’t help but to keep track because I’m proud of that work. My work. I surprise myself every time I read one of my own polished peices. I’m all like, “I wrote that!?”
I think the worst thing a writer can do to themselves is wait for that acceptance email because it just makes it worse when you never receive it. Another thing I have learned is to constantly remind myself that it’s not that my stuff is crap. I’ve been following Chicken Soup for the Soul long enough to understand that most of the time, it’s not me or my writing, it’s the direction or the multiplicity of common topic stories. For instance, I submitted a story to Chicken Soup: Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone. My story Retail To Detail didn’t make the cut, but I still attended Chicken Soup for the Soul’s twitter launch party for the book. I got to greet and converse with all the other contributors that were in the book. One of the contributors wrote a story about how he landed a job as the weatherman on the news. Well, in learning this, I realized my story was written on a similar note, so it was no wonder my story wasn’t chosen.
Coming to this realization, I’m still writing and I’m still submitting because one day it’ll happen, but never look for the email to come. Besides, all my work doubles for my own book series, Y’all Didn’t Hear it From Me–my personal memoir.