I’m a glutton for punishment…or defeat

23 Aug

Several months ago, I submitted a manuscript into a memoir contest. I didn’t place in the top 3, and when I received the feedback (for which I had paid $40), the judge basically said, “Good job. Edit out the word ‘very’ and keep submitting it.”

So what are my plans for tomorrow? I’m going to pull out the same manuscript, give “very” the boot, and submit it to the same memoir contest. The last contest was their bi-annual, this is their annual. Who knows – maybe this time I’ll place.

I’ve been submitting pieces to writing contests, publishers, and publications (magazines & literary journals) for a couple of years, and have had zero success. I can’t even get publishers to send me rejection letters. How sad is that?

I sent the first iteration of my Stephen F. Austin story (which was pretty dry, by the way) to a couple of publishing houses and never heard a word from them. They were receiving unsolicited manuscripts, so I know that wasn’t the problem. But beyond that, I have no clue what the problem was, because I never heard from either place. I even wrote follow-up letters six months later, but still, nothing.

So what do I do? I rewrote the manuscript and submitted it to the same two publishing houses. This time, I enclosed self-addressed stamped postcards for the publishers to pop in the mail to acknowledge receipt of the manuscript. It’s been 6 weeks since I’ve submitted the manuscript to the first publisher, and I have yet to get my postcard. I even sent a follow-up letter 12 days ago to let them know I was going to submit the manuscript to another publisher (and gently prod them to send me my freaking postcard), and I still haven’t gotten anything.

I don’t feel like a failure. I feel like a non-writer. I can’t even get rejected. I think this is probably a good thing, since rejection breaks my heart. Even with contests, I don’t get rejected outright. I just don’t get chosen.

I’m going to admit something here: I’m terrified of being published. What if one of these publishers decide they like my little easy reader book? Or my memoir manuscript? And I actually get published? What then? I’ve been working on these two manuscripts for so stinking long that I don’t have anything else up my sleeve. Sigh. I mean, I have some ideas, but I don’t know if they’re even feasible. I feel like I can’t flesh anything out because I need to focus on TMAOTFN (The Marvelous Adventures of the Fabulous Nolens). At least I’m done with the SFA book for now. I can ignore it because it doesn’t need care or feeding at the moment.

I promise myself that in 69 days I will pick one of my ideas and start working on it. Why 69 days? That’s my deadline for getting TMAOTFN out the door. Halloween. Trick or treat, world. Here’s my literary baby. Don’t rip it to shreds.

I think I’m coming down with #3’s strep. Maybe that’s why I’m feeling so melodramatic tonight. How about I leave you with a picture I took this afternoon of #3 in her Little Mermaid costume and my new wig? She’s obviously suffering greatly from her strep throat.


3 Responses to “I’m a glutton for punishment…or defeat”

  1. Erin August 24, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    I’m sorry you’re feeling so lousy. If it makes you feel any better, I think you’re brave just for sending pieces in to publishers. I have ideas in my head of different things I want to write, but I’ve never actually done it because I’m afraid it won’t actually turn out as fabulous as it is in my imagination and because I fear I’ll be a failure. I used to be a teacher (before I was a mom) and I was just telling my sister that I know I’m a good teacher, my colleagues and principals tell me so. But writing is so scary because some people may think you’re brilliant and some may think you’re awful… just hoping the right people are the ones that think I’m brilliant! Praying for you friend! Don’t give up, you’ll get there!

  2. San Diego Momma August 28, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    Keep going!
    You’re doing what so many don’t: continue to try.
    Your day is coming!
    (And hopefully, mine too).



  1. Sunday Shout Outs - August 28, 2011

    […]  Anywho, if we lived closer I’m sure April and I would be real-life friends.  She wrote a really raw post about being a writer and the fears and frustrations that come with it.  Coincidentally, I saw this […]

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