Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Burning The Past

A few years ago I was a struggling writer, living on hope. I took classes, pored over Writer's Digests listings, wrote my stories and sent them off to magazines almost daily.

Back in the day there was no such thing as an electronic submission. One had to produce a pristine manuscript in the publisher's preferred format, and include return postage for the package.

You sent the stories off, then you waited. For some manuscripts, a reply could take more than a year, and that long-awaited reply often took the form of a mechanically reproduced rejection letter that looked as if it had never been touched by human hands. For all I knew there was a machine available to publishers that punched out those cold rejection letters at the touch of a button.

Could have been, but back in the day there weren't any personal computers. I wrote my first book eleven times, trying to produce that shining story so complete, so perfect a publisher could not resist.

None of it did much good. Over the years I collected a stack of rejection letters three inches tall. Wow! That represented a lot of optimism, a boatload of hope, and an awful lot of spaghetti dinners eaten to save money for postage. Talk about being a starving artist!

To make a long story short, there came a day when I was invited to a bonfire. The invitation urged participants to bring the things they wanted to 'burn' out of their lives. One fellow charred his girlfriend in effegy. Another toasted his unemployment. I burned the rejection letters. It felt good.

And a few weeks later, I got a check for my very first sale. Apparently, getting rid of the negative paid off. I was a real author! Someone paid me for my work! Yay!

Think about it friend, and keep on the sunny side. Terry

Terry L White -Author of the Chesapeake Heritage Series
"Travel Through Time With Terry"

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