Sunday, January 24, 2010

The hardest part

Writing has its share of challenges. The first hurdle, of course, is finishing a story. Once that is done, I brace myself for the deluge of comments, criticisms and suggestions that come with the critiquing process. And later on, rejections aren't a blast. None of these, however, compare with the hardest stage of all: waiting.

Short-story writing is not for the impatient. In my limited experience, it takes a magazine about 60 days on average to respond to a submission. I spend those days rereading the story and seeing things I should have changed or tweaked, checking on response times at Duotrope, and imagining both the joy of acceptance and disappointment of rejection. It gets worse the longer I wait.

While I go quietly nuts, my story spends the majority of its time in the slush pile, unread.

The cure to all this waiting is quite simple: Get to work on the next story. So, with a modicum of patience, that is what I am doing. I have one in need of small revisions before it's ready to send out and another for which I'm writing the first draft. When those are done, I will add them to the slush piles and move on to something else.

And wait.

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