There's a few things to respond to in here, Amy :)
amyhg wrote:I always enjoy keeping up with this thread because it's so encouraging. You'd think that seeing other people's successes and not having one to report myself would be a bummer, but somehow it's not.
It is a truth universally acknolwedged that their just ain't enough damn slots for all of our stories. Success is always hard won and rare just because of the ratios of stories:writers:slots. If you only ever take joy from your own success, it's gonna be a long, miserable road. Learning to take joy in the success of others is absolutely essential, and as a bonus means people are happy for your successes when you get them. Really, it just creates more happiness all round. Don't even let jealousy take root; crowd it out with delight.
amyhg wrote:I'm paranoid that my winning piece was just luck and I'm actually a lame writer.
Congratulations! Having now suffered Imposter Syndrome, you have earned this Real Writer badge, marking you as a Real Writer with Real Writer problems. Seriously--everyone goes through this. The full list of excuses I had for my 2016 sales (deep breath): WotF doesn't count because it took me seven months to write, that's not talent that's just stubbornness; flash doesn't count; they're a new market so their standards were lower at first; I co-authored that story so all the good bits were Stewart's; I read slush there so they were just taking pity... these, as you will soon learn, are brain weasels, and they whisper and they lie and you do not, under any circumstances, ever
believe what they say.
You didn't win through luck. You won through talent and hard work. You're not a lame writer.
amyhg wrote:So, a few questions for you successful folks: On average, how many stories do you have out? And how do you decide where to submit them? How many rejections does a story go through before you rewrite it?
Right now I have 15 out, but I'm on the high side with that (don't ask Ishmael his numbers though, he'll terrify you). Half-a-dozen is a good number, especially when you're still only sending out originals and don't yet have reprints to hawk.
Where to send them? Ask The Grinder
. It's an absolutely essential resource.
Rewrites... only when I think of something anyway, or when I receive personal feedback *that makes sense to me*. You can get rejected for dozens of reasons, most of which are nothing to do with the story--they might have bought something similar last week, you might just have been edged out of the limited slots available despite nothing being wrong with yours (I have had this personal rejection and can confirm it is immensely frustrating), it might have hit a slusher who doesn't like that particular style--so a rejection alone is not an indication that you need to revise. I strongly recommend you don't, in fact, otherwise you'll spend all your time undertaking unnecessary revisions instead of working on new things.
amyhg wrote:I have this fear that I'll submit a story to the big venues before it's ready and then I won't be able to resubmit even after rewrites.
Yeah, that's a thing. I'm at a stage where I pretty regularly get good personal feedback from Charlie at F&SF every time, which means I send my stories to him first... which means he always sees my stories at their worst. I don't think there's an answer to this except "don't send stories out until you're happy". Which is not "is it perfect", because nothing ever is, but "is it as good as I'm capable of making it right now".
Always remember that perfect is the enemy of done, and that you'll learn more from writing more things than on endlessly polishing one thing.
amyhg wrote:Man, I am feeling so burned out.
Happens to us all. Self-care is important. Take a break and come back when you're ready. Vida Cruz, from your class of 34, had a good post on this
, as it happens.