When you’re a writer you get used to rejection. (Well, you’d better, anyway!)
After years of submitting manuscripts, I’ve developed a nice thick skin and can read those words, “Dear Author,” without even cringing. I make it a point to always have a back-up market in mind—the next place I’m going to send a story—so I can get the piece back in the game really quickly.
Still, there was one market I longed to crack. One magazine I set my sights on as a Goal. If only I could publish in Woman’s World magazine, I’d think every time I read a mini-mystery or a short romance. The mysteries are always clever and real brain teasers, the romances tender explorations of the human heart.
Determined, I talked to my critique partner, Sharon, and resolved to write one romance a month aimed at that market. We’d read and discuss it at our monthly meetings. I’d give the story appropriate polishing and tweaking and then send it off.
That was in 1994.
For year after year, I’d write, meet, tweak, repeat, all without success. Along the way, while Sharon wrote and sold seven children’s books, I wrote and sold four novels.
But still, Woman’s World eluded me.
Once in a while, my rejection would have a note written on the bottom. A good rejection! But, a rejection, nonetheless.
Sharon moved away and we began critiquing by email. Somewhere along the line, my once-a-month story attempts dwindled to every couple of months, then every now and then. Yet, whenever I read the magazine, I’d be filled with renewed conviction. I could do it! I would do it!
And then, in 2011, I finally did.
Nearly twenty years of effort, dozens of stories, a fortune in postage stamps, all came to fruition in one slim envelope containing a contract and a letter.
“Congratulations on selling your first story to Woman’s World,” it read and I gave a cry of triumph and delight.
My mini-mystery, “A Poisonous Plan” appeared a few weeks later and, as I marched proudly through the grocery store, my arms laden with copies for friends, I noticed shoppers looking my way and smiling broadly. A moment later I realized it was because I was smiling broadly—and practically skipping down the aisle!
I had occasion to skip again when my first romance filled the page at Woman’s World in 2012.
So, I had reached my goal, a major accomplishment. But it just made me set another goal.
To do it again.
And so, I’ve been trying, aiming for a story a month, crossing my fingers as I drop it into the mailbox, hoping it won’t be another fifteen or twenty years before I hit the mark again.
Discipline, persistence and determination are as important as talent—maybe more so.
At least that’s how it is in this woman’s world.