|Screen shot from Duotrope 2/18/2017. Poems sent this month.|
I hate the word no. Ask my husband, my children, my friends. I hate it.
And it’s not that I was spoiled as a little girl. I wasn’t. Indeed, no was a frequent companion. So as an adult, if I hear no too often, I fall into a well.
That makes it challenging to be a writer. Working on my resistance to no is one of the primary self-advancement tasks that I’ve set for myself this year.
Even before this year, I’ve been working with my aversion to no. Still--no, we don’t want these poems--no, we can’t represent you--no, this group, fellowship, etc. is not for you--hits like a punch in the gut.
I hate NO.
So, I’m practicing my own aversion therapy. This month I’ve submitted 120 poems to very low acceptance journals (<1.5% acceptance rates) with quick turn-around times. I’ve gotten 38 no’s so far. But I haven’t stopped there. I committed to sending the poems back out to another journal without compunction, without revision. I’ve been busily checking off my submissions, posting them on Duotrope, and trying to smile when I send the poems off to the next journal.
But today I woke up cranky. When my husband asked what was wrong, I told him I was sick of no. As an antidote, I sent out 31 more poems. I’m feeling a little bit better.
I’m a writer. It is a given that I will hear no more frequently than I will hear yes. I’m trying to make friends with it. I’m trying to remember that it’s not about me. I’m doing my best work. I’m sending out excellent poems and children’s stories.
I’m looking for the audience that will say yes. I will find it if I can wade through enough no's.