The Very Bad Writer

In 2018 I submitted short stories 78 times. Out of these I got exactly one story accepted for publication. I am a bad writer.

Eleven submissions are still out, but all the rest are rejections. So yeah, I find it hard now in January of the new 2019 to start the process all over again. Very hard.

I stopped submitting in November because Nanowrimo didn’t really leave me time for anything else. Then I kind of took December off from the writing, because of accumulated family responsibilities and holidays.

January is supposed to be a more balanced time: I plan to finish the first draft of the novel started in November and get it to about 88,000 words, while also taking one day of the week for short story rewrites and submissions.

Every story submission is a lot of work (usually one to two hours, after finding the market) to craft a pointed cover letter and complete all the other requirements (they can be wildly different from one publication to another and quite involved).

But the emotional work is the most taxing: with every submission I have to build myself up in my own head, make myself believe that I can do it, that my work is suitable, if not perfect for publication, that in spite of that last rejection, I am not a subpar writer, only one still looking for a break. Sometimes, when self-confidence is beyond my reach, I just go for numbness: Yeah, it’s a bad story but there are many bad stories out there. I’ll submit and get it done with. They’ll reject me and that is fine, because all I need is to do my work and submit, the rest is beyond my control. I don’t even want to be published in their elitist little magazine, so what do I care. I tell myself that I don’t.

And yet, I have to submit in 2019. Somehow I have to find the inner resources for that ounce of self-confidence that pushes me forward until I sign that cover letter, attach that Word document, and press Send. Over and over and over again.


  1. Lori,
    You need to change your headline and chant some positive affirmations!
    You are a very good, prolific, and very persistent writer.
    Kudos on accomplishing so much!
    Best wishes for having your dreams come true this year.

    • Yes, you’re right. It doesn’t do any good to get onto this negative train of thought. I know. And thank you for your support. I am very good, prolific and persistent! I am very good … 😘

  2. Winter is hard. Even just the holiday season is so disruptive. I hope you find the energy you need to get going again.

    I don’t think the submissions to acceptances ratio is anything unusual. It might boost you to know that, when I was at the Creative Writing Winter School, the published authors there all had around 80 or so rejections for each piece before they landed it with a publisher. They just had lots of pieces out on submission at once so that there was something sticking in and among the load that were bouncing back. Keep on keeping on. You have so much talent and at some point you will believe in you as much as I do. xxx

    • Are you serious? 80 rejections for each accepted piece is a traumatizing number to contemplate. Cannot be the norm, can it? I need to be more productive and have more stuff to throw out there. But yeah, I am not giving up. It’s just hard and I need to complain a little (too much) 😊

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