Did I Commit and Submit a Short Story?

Last month, I repeatedly talked about how I wanted to submit a short story to a journal or anthology.  Well, I dragged my feet about it, but I submitted on April 30th, not too many hours before the deadline for my goal.

Jingle Bells

I ended up submitting my short story, Watching You, to The Dark magazine of horror and dark fantasy.  I read a few of their stories, and I thought mine was appropriate for the magazine.  That being said, a lot (but not all!) of their recent stuff had a Hispanic flavor, but I thought I had a chance.  The Dark was a higher level journal than the one I had originally identified for the story to go to, and I thought perhaps I should aim high then try somewhere else later if it failed.

What was more?

It has a reply time of a single day.  That would give me enough time to look the story over again and submit it to the anthology I had first identified without breaking simultaneous submission rules.

So I have my first rejection letter!  And I only seriously wanted to die for like 6 hours after I got it!  I’m not feeling very good right now, and I’m not sure if I even want to make the goal to submit another short story this month.

I’m seriously wondering if I’m cut out for this.  I know it’s just one rejection, and people are going to tell me things like “Oh, you have to do this if you want to be a writer,” but… well, that stuff makes me wonder if I want to be a writer.  Get used to wanting to die?  Get used to feeling like a worthless sack of poop that isn’t good at their passion?  I don’t like that!  It can’t be about that!

I don’t talk about it much on the blog because I don’t think people want to hear me whine about how I’m a f*cking lunatic, but I do have pretty crippling mental issues.  If you’ve ever wondered why I’m such a butthole on Twitter, it’s because I’m usually depressed, and not just a little depressed.  I am seeing professional help, but it’s a really rough time to live in my head.  That submission and rejection didn’t help.  I might actually be too depressed to handle this.

Right now, my goals are to not quit, to eventually eat again (self-punishment garbage that I know from an intellectual standpoint is stupid, but from an emotional standpoint I can’t get over), and to do some reading.  Maybe soon I’ll be able to submit something new (or even submit the same story to a different journal), but right now I’ve got to repair the ol’ cylinders.

40 thoughts on “Did I Commit and Submit a Short Story?

  1. What Words May Come says:

    Hang in there friend! All is not lost…It is only the beginning. You’ll submit and be accepted and then we’ll see what you have to say… Just sayin’ In the meantime… Us, your WP audience, love what you write. Bring it!

  2. joanne the geek says:

    I’m sorry to hear you’re dealing with depression. I hope things get better for you. I know what it’s like…

    As regards to rejection letters you get used to them, or at least I did. In my teens I started sending my poems out to magazines and got a ton of rejection letters., but it made me read more and work on my poetry and eventually I got published. It’s a learning curve. If you’re not able to deal with it at the moment maybe look to approaching it again in the future. You’re a good writer so don’t give up 🙂

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I hope so… I think step 1 is to try submitting a few things that I’m not so invested in. When I tried doing this PitchWars thing on Twitter back in August, I was basically thrown into a pretty depressive spiral for MONTHS. I’m already in a better place.

  3. crimsonprose says:

    So you left your submisssion till the very last day, and you noticed the publication has recently carried material most unlike your own. Hmm. Could either of these points be contributory to the rejection?
    And note, the rejection was of a story you had written. It wasn’t a rejection of you, as a person, as a writer. You just hit a dud ball is all. Quota full, your submission didn’t fit what they wanted. Loads of reasons. And no reason to feel glum.
    So shrug it off, and say, ho-hum, maybe I’ll hit better next time.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      The ‘last day’ was a personal deadline. The journal didn’t have a specified deadline, and they are monthly. It is possible they were looking for something different, but it’s hard to tell, you know?

      I’m doing ok shrugging it off for now. Getting better about it each day.

  4. Tom Darby says:

    Rejection sucks. Did they tell you why they rejected it? If they did — don’t take it to heart. I recently threw away all my rejection notices, slips, letters — perhaps 200 or maybe less. Don’t know and no longer care. You are a great writer and will find that spot when and where ever it is, H.R.R. As for feeling like ‘poop,’ go outside and pick up a dog turd. You’ll understand the difference real quick. Proud that that you’ve joined the ranks of the initiated writer.

  5. Jordy says:

    I am sorry that you are dealing with depression. I have had depression in my life and it is great you are talking about it. We are here for you. One successful strategy I learned awhile ago was to try to fail. To stretch out of my comfort zone and actually write something that I think will fail because it is on the fringes of what I typically would allow myself to write. Typically those are the stories and poems that most people enjoy. Go figure. It can be a mind f&%~ but I am stretching and don’t give a damn about rejection going in. I am still trying and haven’t been published yet but Joanne said it correctly, “it is a learning curve.” Cheers, dear, keep hitting those balls, one will fly out of the park!!

  6. Alexander Elliott says:

    All things considered, it was a courageous step for you to submit – you are to be commended! Most important is your health, so take care of you FIRST. Life is too short to be miserable! All the best, H.

  7. tnkerr says:

    So, I gotta tell ya… that rejection letter? That rejection letter is proof that you tried, frame it and hang it on the wall. No matter how many letters like that you might receive and no matter how slow your progress may seem, you’re still way ahead of those of us who aren’t even trying.

  8. D. Wallace Peach says:

    My favorite two rejections were: 1) the email rejection that I got exactly 1 second after hitting send (auto-rejection? Really?) and 2) the personal letter – “I loved loved loved your book, but it’s not the right fit.” Below those two, there’s a stack of form-letter rejections. The only thing I can say is that it does get easier, and there’s always self-publishing, which is a blast. Now eat something, soak in a little sunshine, pat yourself on the back, and keep writing. I, for one, enjoy your stories. ❤

  9. Almost Iowa says:

    I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but a friend of mine has a “rejection wall”. He pins every rejection he gets onto a wall and has filled it. For him, it is a trophy wall that speaks with pride of his determination.

    A rejection is not a put down. It is more like running the Boston Marathon and not finishing first. Does that mean one should not run. If it did, there would only be a few runners at Boston.

    Submitting for publication strengthens your writing. Keep it up, if only for that.

  10. Mercury the Scribe says:

    Not to be a downer, but the first few times, probably the first ten or twenty, you’ll probably be rejected for the story. Doesn’t mean the story isn’t good, just means it isn’t the right place, the right time for that magazine, you know?

    I recently got a rejection. Thought it was a good fit. Apparently they didn’t think so haha But the more you keep submitting the higher your acceptance rate will be

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I think part of it is one simply can’t afford to buy and spend the time reading ALL the magazines out there. I hope it does get easier, but I accept I may get to the ‘published’ status slower than most people simply because I have a hard time with this part.

  11. cathydpm says:

    You can submit your short story to “The Hidden Gems Podcast” for a chance to be featured on the podcast – meaning that we will pay for a professional narrator to read your story exactly how you have written it. It doesn’t pay you but it is also completely free and I will be happy to end the podcast with an author bio. Go to: http://www.thehiddengemspodcast.com 🙂

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Ooh, I like this – it looks like a new podcast, if I’m right. But the website is beautiful, and I think I’d LOVE to be associated with something with such nice production quality! I’m going to have to download a few casts and find out if I write anything in your genres.

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