The Short Story Slump
I’m getting sick of writing short stories.
Partly because no one wants to publish them.
The rejection letters keep rolling in and I keep shrugging them off, but it does make you start to wonder what you’re doing. (A few weeks ago I got two rejection letters in one day, and one of them came only two days after I’d sent the story out. Two days! It only took them two days to decide they weren’t interested!)
I know, I know. Every writer gets rejected. I was prepared for this and certainly won’t stop trying. In fact, it’s a good thing. If everything came easy from the start I wouldn’t have to work at it, which means I’d never really improve. Also, success is better appreciated after you’ve had failures.
The other reason I’m sick of short stories is because they’re, well, short.
Here’s a confession: I have a finished first draft of a novel. I don’t like calling it that. I just call it the story I’m working on. Saying it’s a novel seems… I don’t know, pretentious, maybe? Like it’s not really a novel until it’s published, before that it’s just something I’m playing around with.
And, oh boy, that story or novel or whatever you want to call it needs edits. But I needed a break. By the time I was done I was too close to it to make clear judgments. So I had this plan.
Put the novel aside. Write some short stories. This would allow me to 1. Practice my writing and 2. Possibly, hopefully, get something published before I embark on the monumental task of trying to publish a novel. After that I could start revisions on the novel and see how things progressed.
So, that’s what I’m doing. What I’ve been doing.
But now I’m getting sick of it.
I want to write something long again. I want to world build and come up with an involved plot. When I was working on the novel the dining room walls were covered in Post-it notes outlining my story and I’d study them and rearrange them again and again. I miss that. I want that again.
I can’t start another novel though. I haven’t even finished the first one. And, sure, I could start doing revisions on it. Enough time has passed to give me some perspective.
I got it in my head that I would get a short story published. At least one. And it’s become very important to me.
I don’t like the idea of constantly throwing away one goal in favor for another, so I’m going to stick it out. I’ll keep working on short stories. I’ll keep sending them out. I’ll keep getting rejections, but eventually there’s bound to be an acceptance letter.
And I’ll know that at the end of it there’s a novel waiting to be revised, and another one waiting to be written.
That’s some pretty good motivation.