This year, I had high hopes for #DVpit. I’d just finished polishing a new manuscript. My query was in good shape. I’d struggled with my pitches, but thought I finally had them down. I scheduled them, went to work, and tried to not to sneak peeks at twitter between each student I tutored.
My try was feeble and I checked the internet every chance I got. What did I find?
No agent <3’s from #DVpit.
Short story rejections, including one I had been a little too optimistic about.
It wasn’t even lunch time, and I was miserable.
At some point in in the midst of it all, I opened up a 100-word-story I’d been working on for a while. I made a few changes based on some feedback and sent it off to an anthology — one that was going to consist entirely of dark drabbles.
Within an hour, I got a response. I read, “I have enjoyed your work to date,” and froze.
Did an editor just recognize my name? I did a little “happy dance” at my desk, which really is just me smiling and bouncing in my seat. My fellow tutor was with a student, so she didn’t notice.
I relished in that thought for a few seconds before reading on to find that not only had I previously published in the same venue as this editor, but he had read my work in another magazine.
I paused again, afraid that despite actually knowing my name, he was still going to reject my story.
Thankfully, he didn’t. He suggested some edits, which I promptly made. The story was accepted, and will be included in Drabbledark along with some of my favorite short story authors.
#DVpit may have been a bust, but knowing that someone who I’ve never met in person new me by my stories was an amazing feeling. Even if it had turned into a rejection, I wouldn’t have cared. As a newish writer, being recognized is a huge victory.
As a writer, take every little victory you get, no matter how small. When you are being battered down by rejections, let that victory be the tiny candle that light up your darkness. As a reader, engage with writers, especially the ones who are just starting out. Tell them when you like their stories. Let them know that you know they exist.
A single sentence can make or break someone’s day.