So, yesterday was tax day – I’m sure it didn’t go unnoticed by most of us. They say death and taxes are the only certainties. For most of us aspiring to be published, we can add to that list, rejection.
No, it’s not a guarantee. But, it’s highly likely that through our pursuit of subbing out manuscripts or sending in stories to contests, we’re going to face rejection.
In his 1947 essay “On the Writing of Speculative Fiction,” Robert A. Heinlein listed the following rules for writing:
1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.
Sounds simple, right? But, how hard is it to send that story back out once it’s been rejected? Particularly, without making edits/changes to it? Pretty hard, in my own experience.
Writers seem to be plagued with self-doubt and insecurity. And, it’s no wonder. What we’re putting out there is a little piece of ourselves that we’ve often put blood, sweat and tears into. It doesn’t get more personal than that.
But, I believe this simple list of rules is very pertinent to each of us, and is something we should all keep in mind. I plan to keep this list handy, and to try to follow it in the future. However difficult that may be.
How about you? Do you think you can follow this list? Are there other “rules” or suggestions that have suited you along your path to publication? I’d love to hear them – please leave a comment with any that you want to share!