method writing

Picture a stop sign riddled with bullet holes. The sign represents any number of reasons to stop spending so much of my time writing, editing, revising, researching, submitting,  and resubmitting. We all have those "reasons," don't we? They're always lurking nearby, trying to get us to quit doing what we love. But the bullet holes represent what I like to call my "shotgun method" to getting work published: have as many submissions in circulation as possible at any given time, and some are bound to make it through to publication. I believe that eventually every one of my stories will find a good home.

In the past two years, I've had a few accepted on their first submission, a handful on their second, but many that have taken more than a dozen resubmissions before ending up at the right market. I'm not sitting around waiting for these tales to be accepted. I'm writing a new one every week and sending it out, following in Ray Bradbury's shadow. When he was a young unknown writer, he was too busy writing to notice the rejection letters piling up. I'm starting to get a feel for what that's like.

I want the form letter rejections to ricochet off me. I want the personal rejections to steer me in the right direction as I make revisions. But because I'm working on new stories, I don't have as much at stake with each resubmission. Does that make sense?

The "shotgun method" may not be right for everybody. I only know that it's working for me. I'm turning out what I feel to be my best work this year, and I'm learning so much in the process: I am not defined by acceptances or rejections. I'm defined only by my work. My stories. My characters.

How about you?

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