Thursday, September 30, 2010

O, mon dieu

I have of late suffered a general malaise re: the business of writing. Not the writing per se, which, though recently qualitatively unsatisfactory, is nonetheless unmalaiscious; but, rather, the enlaming slog of administrative higgledy-piggledy which demands satisfaction if ever one wants to be Published.

I believe I now have seven stories that have been rejected but not re-submitted. The actual rejections no longer bother me; but the process of re-submitting them is boring, tiresome, and annoying. Perhaps this is because I no longer have faith in many of the stories, having over time come to appreciate their defects. Or perhaps I am just sick of balancing a score of stories and strategizing their next assault upon the market.

This could be due to my recent obsession with the Close Combat family of strategy videogames, which have replaced the need to "play the game" of submissions. Or, it could be an existential ennui brought about the excitement of submissions turning into the boredom of submitting. Or, it could be part of an about-face that occurred when I began working on a novel, wherein I began to loathe the short form for its loathefulsomeness.

I will presume, for simplicity, the first alternative; in which case, in the face of this malaise, I can say nought but: "God damn Nazis." God damn Nazis!

Someone will have to defeat them.

What, good reader, are your strategies for overcoming the tiresomeness of the exploits of a writer of unpublished fiction?

-bn

3 comments:

  1. I find submitting to be terribly unexciting too. I have thirteen stories that need to be re-sent. Personally, I do very little strategizing, after the first few submissions I just send my stories to any pro-market that accepts the given genre, and to which I don't currently have a story on submission.

    I do find however that generally when I do not have many stories out, I am also not writing very much. I'm not sure why this is. Either the pile of stories to-be-sent makes me feel the futility of writing even more stories, or the desire to write and the desire to submit come from the same well-spring of enthusiasm, and when it dries up, so do both activities.

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  2. I TOTALLY feel with you. I hate matching a story to a market. Sometimes you come across a market that seems perfect, but once they reject it it's just a monotonous exercise where you have to go through the motions. I keep a generic cover letter handy for each piece so all I have to do is personalize it to the market, that cuts out a few minutes. I also keep a bulletin board above my desk, and on it (amongst the comics and other fun items) are small bits of paper with the name of a story I'm submitting on each of them. When a story comes back, I take the paper down until I resubmit. Having the visual cue that it's not out there sometimes helps (though I often get lazy and don't take them down, so that advantage goes away.) I also write the dates something was rejected and the dates of submissions on my calendar, and I aim to keep them for no longer than 7 days. All this organization (I'm a very organized person, on paper at least) doesn't always help though, and then they just sit until I kick myself in the pants.

    Here's a virtual kick, in case it helps you:

    *kick* :)

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  3. Oh man, I wish I had a strategy. Right now, I keep a spreadsheet with all the places to submit and the status of any stories that I've submitted, but that doesn't really give me the motivation to keep things out. My goal for my novel Genesis Earth is to have it out in at least five places each time, but I usually slip up on that and submit in big, random spurts.

    Like Eileen, I keep a generic cover letter for each piece and personalize it for whichever agent/market I submit it too, but you've got to be careful: on one of them I wrote "" and I forgot to delete that before I sent it out! So don't be stupid, like me...

    Working crappy jobs also helps. Sometimes, when I realize that I just don't want to be where I'm at for the rest of my life, that kicks me in the butt big time. Attending conferences and meeting the agents/editors in person also helps.

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