The Top Five People You Want To Like Your Stories

As I was drifting off to sleep on Sunday night, I floated in a happy cloud of satisfaction and contentment. I have only recently been brave enough to start putting my stories out in the world after years of chicken heartedness. I have been producing as fast as one story a day and then going back and polishing them off later for a few hours. Two years ago I wrote one short story and worked on making it perfect for 6 months, then gave up and put it away, frustrated and discouraged. How would I ever get published if I could never finish the damn thing?

This year I decided to pump out as many stories as I can, and while not not caring if they were good or not, just not being ridiculously picky about every single letter in every single line as if it were life or death. I was taking it far too seriously and having no fun at all. Perfectionism sucks, so I told it to get lost! It’s working great and I have already submitted my favourite one so far to a few online pubs. It’s been rejected and I survived and it doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I have been able to just let it go and look forward to the next ones I am writing. It’s a kind of freedom, a new attitude for me, not being perfect. It certainly helps with getting new stories on the page, to be able to let go of yesterday’s. It’s  a wonderful feeling to be so productive and still not hate what I am creating!

So, I thought I would share with you one of the wonderful aspects of getting more stories done and out, which is actually showing them to people and hearing their opinions and helpful feedback. Of course you start with relatives, if you are lucky enough to have some that will take the time to read and reply on your new babies. Your own people’s opinions matter the most, but they are less likely to be brutally honest for fear of hurting you if they think the story is absolute crap, so they are the safest ones to start with. Then you have to branch out and show your stories to those whose opinions matter professionally because they are also writers. That was a little more scary. I’ll list for you the sequence of “first readers” that I went through, just to share the steps of bravery you have to develop to push your chicks from the nest. It was hard, but BOY it was worth it, as what happened on Sunday was the best I could hope for. Here they are:

  1. My daughter was the first one I let read the first story I thought was done. She loved it and had some excellent advice on things to work out in the story. Her enthusiasm was catching and I leaped to the keyboard and kept writing some more, because she wanted to read more. All you need is an audience of one and it makes the work of writing a story worthwhile. Thank you, Sarah!
  2. My sister has very different taste in stories than what I write, which is mainly horror and S/F, but she liked one of the first ones I wrote in my new speed mode and also had helpful ideas on how to make the ending better. Her liking the story was the main thing though, because if she hated it or it was crap, she would not hesitate to say so, while my daughter is much more diplomatic, lol. Thank you, Karen!
  3. My friend, who likes the kind of stories I write, was thrilled with it and couldn’t put it down, making her late for an important appointment. She had to see what happened at the end. You can’t get a better response than that. She also wants more stories asap, encouraging me and filling the tank of energy you need to keep going and start new ones, to not just be happy with what you did, but make more and more and more! lol Thank you, Veroniek!
  4. I submitted the story to my writing group, a random collection of writers in stages between only having written two pages, ever, and having 7 published novels. The latter is the leader of the group and I respect his advice and opinions a great deal over the two years or so that we have been meeting once a month. He liked it! He critiqued it carefully, correcting a few tiny things, but mostly leaving it as is and said several times that it was good. I was so ecstatic with his approval that I could barely pay attention to the rest of the meeting. My story was good! His professional experience and overall smarts made his a very important opinion, and I passed! I thanked him profusely for liking my story and that is why I was so happy on Sunday, falling asleep, remembering that that guy said my story was good. Thank you, Arshad!
  5. A publisher, any publisher! I have not yet had my story accepted by a publisher, but I aimed high by submitting it to those that pay the most, cents-per-word places. I know that if I keep sending it out, eventually someone will take it, but I thought, what the hell? Why not start high and work my way down and see what happens? I was kind of hoping for some feedback with the rejections, but they are all form letters so far, but I don’t care. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of potential homes for my new child, and I will never give up until I find it, and in the meantime, I’m writing new ones to follow along the path to great writing fame and fortune! I love the idea of taking  ten of the best and put them on Amazon as a collection of short horror stories, which my writing group leader suggested would sell better than one at a time. I can do that! The possibilities are endless.  Thank you, Internet!

So, today it is back to the keyboard, and while I am waiting for the next rejection to send that little flying story out again immediately, I will make new ones to join it. I got the idea from one of the fantastic blogs on here to make a spreadsheet of submissions and rejections so I don’t accidentally send it twice anywhere.

If I had known how exhilarating and downright fun this process was going to be, I would have begun it decades ago. It was the fear of failure and rejection that stopped me for all those wasted years, my little stories begging to be born and me just ignoring them because of stupid fear. Fuck the fear. I am doing it and I don’t care if a thousand rejections come back, the 1,001st one will be lucky to have my cool story.

So there. The next story is going to be about a sentient elevator…………………………………

The End

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