First 3 Rules Of The Write Club: Be consistent. Be resilient. Be You.
Every rejection is a step closer to your next acceptance.
Finding your line in the sand is vital to your success in the world of words.
When writing for a variety of publishers in print and online you will run into obstacles. Sometimes you will be given mixed messages or conflicting advice within the same small circle of editors. So how can a writer determine which pieces of advice to pay attention to?
The answer is simple. When the goal is to get published at a certain magazine, newspaper, or online pub you should refer to the last communication you had with the people who have the power to accept or reject your work. Follow any instructions given by the editorial desk precisely. Once you give them what they request, you have done your part.
The only actions that you need to put on the front burner are the actions that move you forward towards your publishing goals. All the other wisdom you are bombarded with will need to take the back burner until you have given your best effort in reaching your immediate publishing goals.
Be okay with the word “no” because it will be prominent in your life as a writer.
In an attempt to be a perfect fit for a publisher I admire, I made a rookie mistake just today. I wrote a boring and tragic checklist that lacked originality. It had been written by hundreds of others before me. There are probably hundreds of writers still writing the same piece, right now.
So why did I write something with such a common theme?
I wrote the perfectly proper piece as a show of my willingness to conform in order to be seen at a publication that I quite strongly admire. Big mistake. It is never advisable to attempt to fit into the confines of an ideal that you cannot achieve.
In other words, I tried to fit into a neat and tidy box but the result was all elbows. I didn’t look right in that box. I had quieted my signature quirky tone. I replaced my usual writing style with something void of any personality. I silenced the real me in order to comply with the very specific requirements of the publication I was aiming for. They said no to that piece, and I understand why. It was garbage. They are better than that. I am better than that.
Even though there are stringent criteria and I had met those criteria, I also managed to strip the essence of my voice so bare that the piece that remained was just a bland, dry mockery of my skills.
“I tried to fit into a neat and tidy box but the result was all elbows. I didn’t look right in that box. I had quieted my signature quirky tone. I replaced my usual writing style with something void of any personality.”
The lessons of my mistakes are numerous.
Never remove your unique charm, and don’t be afraid to keep trying. Editorial mentorship is not easy to come by so when an editor does finally speak to you, even if it is only a brief note, use that to your advantage. See the words as an opportunity to get better at working in diverse situations. Criticism is usually constructive when the sender is one of your editors. It really isn't an insult. Take editorial commentary as miniature lessons to be kept in your tool belt for future reference. Then start again.
Every time you are told, “no” that is one “no’’ closer to the next “yes” so cheer up. Think of the two-letter rejection as a requirement for getting closer to your goals. Be consistent. Be resilient. Be You.