Roadkill Joe Never Quits, and Neither Should You

Life's full of frustrations, but how we handle them molds our character. Dealing with setbacks, overcoming obstacles, plowing through impossible workloads. Somehow we do it every day, then wake up ready for another dayfull. (Or we smash the alarm clock to bits and hide under the covers.)

As a writer, part of creating worlds, populating them with flawed characters, igniting conflicts between them, then sharing them with the world...involves dealing with rejection. I've gotten used to the cold form letter: "It didn't work for me, I'm afraid." I'm also used to the friendly version: "While this doesn't suit our present needs, we hope you'll submit again." Only once have I received: "I hated it." Maybe I've grown numb, but for the most part, rejections don't give me pause anymore.

One will forever live in infamy, however. Because the editor of a certain well-paying publication lost my story. When I queried its status a month after their usual response time, the editor said, "Oops. Found it. Well, the deadline has passed, but I definitely would have published this one. As a consolation prize, how about a free critique?"

Of course I accepted the critique (he said I used "just" too much; just a problem I have), but I was bummed. If only he hadn't lost my story, it would have appeared in a freakin' cool 'zine with a bunch of other freakin' cool writers' stories! Oh well. No use crying over spilt milk. Instead, with renewed vigor I subbed it to five other well-paying venues, four of which replied with very friendly rejections.

Then I sent it to Perihelion Science Fiction. And two days later, it was accepted. Last week, it was published in their June issue.

Never, ever quit, folks. Even when frustrations start to get you down. Even when editors drop the ball. Believe in your work, and get it out there where it belongs.
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