Submitting stories to small press journals is a somewhat arduous process. You start out all hopeful and eager, a bundle of stories at the ready. “These will be great,” you tell yourself, “and they will read them with excitement and eagerness.”
Then, instantly, you start to get a little discouraged. This journal only wants stories about post-apocalyptic penguins and that one only appreciates stories written in the style of 18th century wandering minstrels. Oh. Okay.
Then, you find a few magazines that seem right. You are back on track and a tentative optimism takes hold. You start submitting. Only, this journal ended open submissions last week and that one insists that you use only a single space after every period and then some just want money immediately, aka a “reading fee.” Huh.
The stories that you worked on so lovingly start to look like an annoying pile of poo that you are looking to shovel into any hole that will accept them, then bury them forever. You submit.
Now you await the letter that it has been received and then you await the letter saying that it is simply and entirely wrong for them. Occasionally, something gets published and everyone you know thinks that you got money for it. You didn’t.
Now, it’s time to write some new things. The cycle starts again. And, if you really enjoy writing for it’s own sake, you will be pleased. “Oh, maybe I should write something about post-apocalyptic penguins. That might really be a good time. Maybe their beaks could do something really freaky and technological…or like, those flipper wings that they have could open out to the sides and shoot some lasers. Yes. People like lasers. This is going to be great. I can’t wait to get started!” Of course, the minute you have penned this gem of American literature, you will feel radiant. “I have created a penguin classic. Penguin classic. Hahaha! Yes, I am the funny!” This is clearly the best part of the process.
Now, if you start to read this blog entry over again and keep repeating the loop, you will officially live in the glamorous world of the unpaid, published writer. Hope you enjoyed the VIP pass! I have to go now. I need to write things about penguins.