• Francine Cunningham

Just some thoughts on submitting in 2015

So today I was thinking about submitting. Last year felt like a lot of rejection letters and I was feeling a little bummed so I decided to take a look at my spread sheets. Turns out the reason why it felt like a lot of rejection letters came my way was because they did! I tallied up my fiction, poetry, non-fiction, visual art, residency, grants and comic submissions for 2015.

79 Total Rejection Letters for 2015. 13 Total YES we want your stuff or to give you money letters. 80 submissions of writing. 12 submissions of everything else.

BUT, surprisingly this little list made me really happy. Because there was something else. I have never in my life submitted to so many places —ever.

As an example 2014 submissions 10 Rejection Letters 2 We want your stuff or to give you money 8 submissions of writing 4 submission of everything else.

This past year I finally took myself seriously as a writer and an artist. I was finally confident enough to say in casual conversation with people that yeah, I'm a writer and an artist and yeah, I do that for a living. And it just happened one day this year, I don't know when.


But I do remember there was this moment where I was standing outside with someone who I've known for years, waiting for people to tumble out of a loud bar, when I stated something like, as an artist I feel.... something something and they just stared at me before giving me a huge hug. Why? Because they said it was the first time they had ever heard me declare in so much confidence and assurance that I was an artist. It was kinda cool, I didn't even feel this shift when it happened.

So what made me shift?


I think it was a culmination of little things. I started this website, got onto the social media places, I started to write seriously, well more on a strict regime.  I started to read differently, not just for pleasure but for craft. I started to appreciate great literature and began seeking out more poetry, more writers who used language that inspired me and who made me want my prose to be as beautiful. And I noticed something, that as the year progressed those rejection letters started to change from just the standard form letters to personal letters and to editors asking me to send them different stories to look at because while this one didn't fit they enjoyed my writing.


I think that just by doing something, one thing even, everyday, that moved me towards my goals it had this little snowball effect that happened inside of me unconsciously. And the thing is I hope I send out even more work this year and yes, get more rejection letters. Because that means two things, onethat I am writing more stuff that I am happy and confident in and two, that I am taking myself and what I want to do with my life more seriously.


So not all rejection is bad, eh?


Also, do you remember in Stephen King's book On Writing when he was talking about that nail that he had up on his wall that he stuck all his rejection letters on and how it made him feel good because at least he was trying? Yeah, I feel yah, Stephen King.


So here is to 2016 and to trying (and succeeding)

— FRan

FC

ILLUSTRATIONS AND WRITING BY

FRANCINE CUNNINGHAM

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