Get Out There Publish

This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don't consider it rejected. Consider that you've addressed it "to the editor who can appreciate my work" and it has simply come back stamped "Not at this address." Just keep looking for the right address.

—Barbara Kingsolver

A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor.

—Ring Lardner

I submitted my first story for publication as an undergraduate. I sent it to three literary magazines, two of which promptly rejected it. One year later, expecting my first child and finishing my degree, I received a copy of the third magazine, Painted Bride Quarterly. Inside was my story, "Water."

That publication was both a gift and a burden. The gift of having my first submission published fueled my decision to apply to graduate school. Other publications followed, but were certainly outnumbered by rejections. Throughout my masters' program, I focused on publication as the way to understand myself as writer. That is, if I was published, I was a legitimate writer.

In the writing world there is little else as exciting as an acceptance letter, unless it is the excitement of losing oneself in a world of one's creation. But these are different types of excitement. One is the result of immense solitude, of wonder for the known world and the world of the imagination. The other is the product of having one's vision, one's work, affirmed.

The important thing to realize is that the affirmation can only follow the solitude, the wonder, and the work. Put your writing first and avoid distracting yourself with the lure of publication. You might want to have a number of finished stories in your portfolio before you begin to seek publication.

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