For seven months, from November 2022 to June 2023, the only responses I got to submissions were rejections. Some of them were encouraging, some were form emails. None of them were the result I wanted. I started wondering if I was cut out for this, if I was ever going to write another good story.
I was spiraling. But there were a few things I tried to remind myself when I started thinking those thoughts:
That every year since 2019 (when I began seriously writing), my craft has improved.
That I feel better when I write, and that I don’t write for accolades. I write because I need to write.
That external validation doesn’t sustain me. The high from an acceptance or a win always fades faster than I think it will. The joy from writing something I love lasts far longer.
That if I keep trying, I will continue to improve, and eventually, I will surpass my own expectations.
And then, in June, my persistence paid off. I got two stories accepted for publication, and I came in 7th in a contest with 300 entrants. All three stories will be published this summer, and I am so excited to share them with the world.
But I’m even more excited for the next time I get to sit down and write.