Thirty Short Stories & One Book Deal Later

Early rejections. Back when people still used the Post Office.
Early rejections. Back when people still used the Post Office.

In 2008, I thought to myself: If only I could get ONE short story published, then I would be reassured as a writer. I remember sending out submissions, gathering rejections and thinking just one. That’s all I need. One. Justonejustonejustonejustonejustone.

Lo and behold, it came. One then another. I set my sights on some of my top-choice lit mags, and I got in this one and that one. I wrote books. I got offers. I signed with a Big Six.

Yesterday, I got another acceptance for a little story called SPARROW ON THE WHITE SPACE. Today, I discovered that it marks my 30th short story acceptance since Story Philippines picked me up in 2008.

And guess what?

It’s still not enough.

I have come to the conclusion that although I’m happy and proud of all my accomplishments (after all, I’ve listed them here for the world to see), it’s never going to be enough. I could win the Newbery Medal. The Nobel Prize for Literature. The Pulitzer. They could make 500 movies based on my short stories and novels. They could erect a statue to me in Literarysville, U.S.A., and have the residents bow and worship it every Thursday, and I’d still think: Yeah, but …

I’m certainly not alone. There have been dozens of blogs written about writers who toil away at their crafts, only to be unsatisfied with the results.  People have pined that Some Writers are Never Satisfied and asked Writers: Never Happy with What You’ve Got? Once the results become attainable, you search for something unattainable to replace it and start the cycle again.

Maybe I should consider launching myself into a career where I’m destined to never attain anything, and therefore I’d never have to go through the inflated joys of success followed by the deflated joys of Yeah, but. I could just settle on deflated. Perhaps I could pursue a pop-music career. I could be like Joaquin Phoenix when he left acting to become a rapper and then nobody heard from him for a while, until he popped up and said he was only kidding.

Then again, maybe not.

0 Replies to “Thirty Short Stories & One Book Deal Later”

  1. Erin, it’s OK to never be satisfied–it’s good! I write fiction and poetry and with poems, of course, you always want to see more accepted. I’m still waiting to publish my first piece of fiction but I imagine it’ll be the same thing…wanting to get more work out there and to get to the next level. 30 stories is really impressive but it’s not like you’re going to stop sending them out there. I’m looking forward to your middle grade novel next year! Cheers, Heather

  2. There’s already a monument erected for you in The Coolest People I Know Hall of Fame. I tip my hat to it regularly. It’s not the same as discussing the state of the world, assholes we have known and the glorious mstakes of our pasts over cocktails but I guess it will have to do.

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