Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Road to Publication

Some quick thoughts on the road to publication before I go off to class.

First the good news. The road to publication is mostly paved. There may be a few routes left unpaved or only chip sealed, but the majority of the way has been laid by those who have gone before (other authors who have struggled to make it).

The bad news is, there are parts of the road less maintained than others. This means there will be holes to fall into. Some of the holes are small and will just be a passing bump, others will be huge things that blow a tire.

What’s interesting is everyone sees the bumps and holes differently. While someone who gets a rejection may look at it as a huge hole that blows a tire, another person who gets a rejection may only see it as a small bump.

This got me thinking. Why do some rejections seem like huge holes and others only small bumps?

I think it depends on the attitude of the author and how much they are invested in the answer. I’ve had some rejections that really hurt. I’m talking tire blown out hurt. Sometimes it took me a while to find the spare, get the tire changed, and get back on the road.

I’ve also had rejections that were only small bumps in the road. I think this is partly due to the thick skin I’ve developed over the years. My tires are becoming stronger. Rejections at the beginning of my journey seemed to give me more flat tires than do the current ones.

On the other hand, I also seem to develop more slow leaks. Like a nail in the tire. The nail gets stuck in there, and I go along without even knowing I’ve got a leak. Before I know it, I’ve got a flat. I’m not sure when I picked up the nail (and sometimes I’m not even sure why), but sure enough, the tire’s flat.

These little leaks seem to come from a comment that doesn’t bother me at the time, but stays with me. Or from little things in every day life that seem to add up until the tire pressure falls, and I’m deflated. These slow flat tires are more damaging to me than a full blow out. I can usually get a new tire and keep going after a blow out, but the slow leak takes longer to fix. Sometimes I can pull out the spare and get it taken care of, but I don’t always have a spare.

So, why does it take me longer to fix the flat in these cases? I think it’s because I never saw it coming. The leak sort of snuck up on me, and I wasn’t prepared for it.

Still, whether quick or slow, the tire eventually gets fixed and before long, I’m back on the road ready to face the potholes and bumps on the road to publication.

Remember, just as with any road trip, we all need to stop now and then. Sometimes we need to refuel, sometimes a snack, and other times we need a hotel and a long rest. I seem to need a stop more often when I’m flat from a slow leak than when I have a blow out.

I’m curious, does a slow leak cause you to stop more often than a blow out?


Write on.

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