I am sitting with Elena. She just gave me a pep talk about never being discouraged about my writing. It is easy, however, to get discouraged. I write, write and write and then submit (there are not three submits here since I am not as good at submitting as I need to be), but then there are rejections on the other side of those submissions. Yes, I do sometimes receive an acceptance. I have quite a few at this point, but my goal is to always submit to the next level of publications. With those, except for a few exceptions, I am still trying to break through. I am like a kid standing at the bottom of the next tall hill saying, “But now that I’ve come this far, I now want to be up there.” I believe that is the way it should be – always challenging myself – but I must admit that I am hopeless about discerning what pieces will be the ones that take me up to the next summit.
Take yesterday morning, for example. I was having a passing conversation with myself about the value of my writing. Perhaps, I thought, I need to shift to something else since this doesn’t seem to be panning out in the publication department. I was weighing what that something else might be – art or photography were two thoughts – but I was coming up with a big zero. What could I do that would stir the same passion for me? As life would have it, I had to turn my attention elsewhere. Then, last night, I received a short note from the editors of The Provo Review who had accepted one of my stories earlier this year. It basically said, “Dear Len, Congratulations. We loved your story so much, we’ve nominated it for a Pushcart Prize.”
The irony of this situation is two-fold. One is the obvious. I was obviously thinking of cashing in my writing chips just that morning. The other is even more ironic. I submitted that story they love so much on a lark. I had no real expectation it would ever be accepted for publication. In fact, I thought they had accepted another of my stories.
So, the lesson learned? Just keep going, trudge, trudge, trudge. And keep the ego out of the process. I will continue to do what I love and let that be enough.
Okay, Elena. I heard you advice. I will not be discouraged. I will just keep writing.