"Submit it and forget it" was one of the best pieces of advice I received as a beginning writer, and, though it was difficult to do in the beginning when I only had a handful of manuscripts floating around, it became easier as time went on. When I had dozens of manuscripts under submission I could barely remember them all and, later, when I improved both my writing skill and my marketing abilities, I didn't fret much because nearly everything sold on first or second submission.
For the past several years I have been writing most of my short stories on assignment, on invitation, or for markets where I've already placed multiple stories. Life has been good.
On the other hand, it had been a long time since I wrote anything just for me or that really stretched my abilities in some way. At the beginning of the year, I decided to change that.
In an earlier post, I described how I've been triple-tracking my writing. During the first writing session of the day, I write stories for a pair of magazines that have published one or more of my stories each month for a bloody long time. During my second writing session of the day, I write stories in a genre where I've had long-term success, and much of what I write is sent to a handful of anthology editors who have each published several of my stories. During my third writing session of the day I work on stretch-stories or just-for-me-stories.
One unexpected outcome from this is that I've created a few stories for markets to which I've never previously sold and a few stories for which I had no specific market in mind during the writing. So, like a beginning writer, I'm following the time-tested, time-proven theory of submitting to the best market and working my way down until I receive an acceptance or run out of places to submit.
An even more unexpected outcome is that, despite having more than three-dozen manuscripts under submission, I am acutely aware of only a few. I find myself unable to "submit and forget" them, which causes this:
The editor of one anthology, an editor to whom I had never previously submitted, mentioned in her blog that she had made decisions on all submissions and would be notifying writers this week. It's Wednesday already and I haven't heard a thing. Is that good news or bad?
A fellow writer mentioned in a Yahoo group that she had received a polite rejection from the top magazine in that genre after only three weeks. My story's been there five weeks already. Is that good news or bad?
I'm nervous and tingly all over, just as I was back in the day when I was sending out my first few manuscripts.
It's nice to know that I'm not really the jaded old writer I thought I had become and that I can still feel like a virgin writer submitting for the very first time.