A Writer's Ramblings
Writing | Books | General Shenanigans
Emails Full of Writerly Fun
Please welcome Jacklynn M Desmond! Her story will be published alongside my own ("Bottom of the River") in A Journey of Words, a short story anthology featuring talented writers from all over the globe. The anthology will be available in paperback next month and is currently available in eBook format from Scout Media.
To reserve a signed copy, pre-order here or email me with the subject line "AJOW Pre-Order."
Please check out Jacklynn's Facebook page, and follow her writing journey!
Originally published at The Oxford Editors
Nobody likes rejection. Nobody approaches a crush and thinks, I really hope they shoot me down! It’s tough to put yourself on the line, and that’s exactly what you’re doing every time you submit your writing. Your work is a piece of you, and having your writing rejected often feels like being rejected as a person—like being told, You’re not good enough. So how do you deal with that? It’s extremely difficult, especially in an industry often approached by insiders and outsiders as a pipe dream. Wow, you really think you can be published someday? Good luck!
As a writer, rejection and failure are not possibilities—they are absolute certainties. And how you deal with them will make or break your career. Here are some tips for facing rejection and using it to drive your success!
Most of you know about my recent concussion. Here’s the short version:
I took a blow to the helmet during softball practice, a week and a half before opening day of my senior season. My trainer expected the concussion to last two weeks, max. Instead it lasted four months. The injury stripped away my entire identity. I couldn’t read, write, or understand words that were spoken to me. I couldn’t turn on lights or walk across the room. I couldn’t be around another person without feeling paranoid and clawing at my hands. Speaking was difficult, and during attacks I came to refer to as “flooding,” I couldn’t speak at all. I would spend hours curled in a ball, unable to move, breathe without intense effort, or convey (or even understand myself) what was wrong.
It’s difficult for me to even use the word injury because what happened to me was so far beyond physical. I can never truly explain to another person what it felt like.
That’s a problem.
Let me tell you why.
If you’ve read my last blog post, you know I’ve had a mess of a few months. What do I do when I feel useless or helpless or—anything, really? I start a project!
I’d been tossing around the idea of an eBook for a while. When I first created my site and began blogging, it was an absolute mess. I had no idea what I was doing. I researched, but I felt like I was spinning my wheels. Even though we can find the answers to pretty much anything on the internet, we don’t always know what questions we need to ask. That was the thought behind my eBook. I wanted to break everything down as simply as possible, to take a new blogger step-by-step through the startup process.
Like everything, creating the guide was a learning experience.
As I was writing my post on dialogue, I thought, Wow, I've been rambling for a while now. And so I have. I've been talking about reading and writing on this blog since last summer, and as much as I enjoy corrupting you all with my ways, I realize there are other idea-filled writers out there who are farther along in their personal journeys than I am.
So I presented them with a question: What advice would you give to a new writer?
And now, drumroll please, I present you with their answers.
An opportunity to push your nearly grown manuscript out of the nest and into the world!
Let's just break this down.
What is it?
A brand new online writer's contest!
Who is it for?
Anyone with a completed manuscript (any genre, including erotica) ready for agent eyes.
UPDATE: Templates for the organization files below are now included in each welcome email for the Community of Readers & Writers. Enter your email below to receive the following:
Tips for keeping your writing and submissions organized!
For many people, “get organized” is at the top of the New Year’s Resolutions list. And for writers, organization should always be a priority. (You can’t lie to me—I know how we are.) Finding a system and sticking to it was key to my personal productivity. So I’m going to show you how I stay organized, and hopefully it will give you ideas or inspire you to find your own method of organizing the madness.
Whether you’re submitting to literary magazines, querying your manuscript, or applying to be crowned ruler of the world, you’ve got a tough road ahead of you. There will be heartbreak, betrayal, and disillusionment—and that’s just in the trailer.
But I’ve got a few tips to make it easier. Nothing fancy, but they might help you out in a pinch. Think of this post as a Swiss Army Knife for the submission jungle.
Edit: I am retitling this post "I'm Proud of My Name" (previously "Should I Be Ashamed of My Name?"). This is very much a venting of the thoughts and frustrations I was having—and still have. I am frustrated by the lack of gender equality in the publishing industry and by the fact that the bias toward women is so deeply ingrained in our culture that even highly intelligent, well-educated professionals often act in a sexist way without even realizing it.
But I am not ashamed of my name. I will never use a male or gender-neutral pseudonym. I believe that women writers have a respobsibility to represent our gender in the publishing industry. Readers use a lack of female writers to justify the belief that women simply don't write as well as men, and writing under a male pseudonym only adds to the cycle. If a reader walks into a bookstore and sees only male names on the shelf, what other conclusion is he or she to draw?
Now I'm not knocking women who choose that path. I get it. From my below discussion, you know I get it.
But personally, I'm damn proud of my name. And it will always appear on my work.
I recently read Homme de Plume by Catherine Nichols. I was aware of the publishing industry's gender bias, but it's a different thing to see proof—numbers that cannot be ignored. Catherine's same query letter sent using a male name received 17/50 manuscript requests versus 2/50 using her female name. Nichols says her male counterpart "is eight and a half times better than me at writing the same book.