So in this post, I want to set me some personal goals, and sum them up with one in particular.
I've written and published a good amount of nonfiction, but when I write fiction I still enjoy significant insecurity. Fiction and nonfiction writing exercise different muscles and I've used the fiction muscle far less, at least in my adult life. As a result, one of my tendencies is to get a story down on paper, send it out here and there for consideration, or maybe not (if I happen to conveniently forget), then move on and ignore the story or piece of writing entirely. I have ONLY published one story in my fiction writing life (in a college zine), so sending out my fiction is still kind of difficult.
But I do know this: No writer ever published any work by keeping it locked in a cute little hope chest, stuffed in a filing cabinet or filed away on a hard drive somewhere. We write to get our work out there, to have it read by others, and digested or enjoyed.
So I'm going to flip my writing goals around, starting today.
In the past, my goals have always geared toward the writing itself: I WILL finish this story or that chapter, this scene or that article, this screenplay or that novel etc...on down the line...
No, this time I am setting a REJECTION GOAL. You read that right. I want to get rejected. Maybe you've heard of this idea before, I don't recall where I saw it, but I think it's a good one. This concept conveniently flips the whole process around in my head. And yes, I don't really want to get rejected, but it is part of the publishing business, a truism I learned when I became an nonfiction editor several years ago - rejection is what happens, nothing personal, just a reality with which EVERY writer must contend.
So I'm going to send out THREE stories by May 15, earlier if possible, to twenty different publications each. That's sixty publications total. Print publications or online publications, doesn't matter. I just created a little spread sheet to keep track, and the goal is this:
RACK UP 50 Rejections by JULY 15, 2009. The other ten may take longer to reject, who knows?
FINALLY: While I am waiting for rejections to mount up in May and June, I will begin the fourth editing pass on my novel.
So how about a thought for today: Can we all agree on something? Let's each send out that piece of writing that we've been working on . . . you know, the one that's basically finished, but you keep nitpicking the adverbs?
Also, I'd be curious to know, do you have any similar goals for your writing, but more specifically, for getting your writing out there in front of other people?