Keep Trying, Don't Give Up

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

It's unfortunate how easy it is to lose hope about your own writing success. Submission after submission, rejection after rejection, there seems to be greater evidence to stop bothering than to bother. But every now and then, a surprise comes in.

Recently, I had that experience.

Prior to this acceptance, I had taken my short story through another round of revisions, hoping it would lead to an acceptance. I had to muster up all my energy to do this, and not lose sight of my goal: publication. 

Even when I'm finished with a story, I'm never really done. After a certain number of revisions, I go back, tweak a bit, and send it out fresh. Sometimes it's more than tweaking though. Sometimes I realize a story needs a major overhaul.

With my short story, "You Spelled Carrot Wrong," last year, I realized it needed an overhaul. My character wasn't strong enough, and she didn't have clear motivations. So, I reworked it and sent it out into the world again. 

Then, feeling a tad defeated, I got some fresh feedback, applied it as best I could, and sent it out again.

Finally, last week, I got an acceptance. This story had received 51 rejections, and finally, its 52nd was an acceptance.

I never would have thought this story would have been accepted. After a while, I begin to wonder if a story ever would, especially since it has been submitted for a few years now.

However, it's a reminder to me, and I hope to you as well, to not give up. Even if the journey feels tiring, keep trying. Keep striving. You just never know.

Nicole Pyles is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. Her writing has appeared in Sky Island Journal, Arlington Literary Journal, The Voices Project, and eventually, The Ocotillo Review. A poem of hers was also featured in the anthology DEAR LEADERS TALES. Say hi to her on Twitter or Threads under @BeingTheWriter.


Angela Mackintosh said...

This is such great news, Nicole! 51 rejections shows incredible persistence. I know you worked hard on this story over the years, and I'm so proud of you. Carrot is a wonderfully written story and I can't wait to see it in print! :)

My highest number so far has been 16 rejections, and that taught me to target my markets more carefully. The fastest acceptance I ever got was within a few hours. You just never know. I hope you're celebrating!

Nicole Pyles said...

Ha, true! I love those fast acceptances, they don't happen often enough! :)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I loved seeing this success! Your character didn't give up and neither did you. Congratulations!

Kelly Sgroi said...

I'm so happy this story is being published, it's a winner! Congratulations Nicole, and well done for continuing to rework and submit until you got your yes!

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