It wasn't for a lack of trying, as I submitted often, and I received loads of rejections. Hundreds and hundreds.
And back then, I had lots of time (or so I thought). I had time to check Duotrope daily, to scour the web for writing advice, to blow hours reading agent blogs and industry news.
But my writing wasn't very good, and my stories didn't find homes.
I kept at it, and I spent more time writing and a lot less time thinking good things were going to happen while I waited for them to show up at my door. Not coincidentally, I'd like to believe, the form rejections slowed to a trickle. Some stories were shortlisted. Others were published.
I wrote even more, and I stopped reading all but a few blogs. I had a daughter, and now I have even less time to write.
I mention all of this because I have a number of students at the college that are good writers. They are waiting patiently to start seeing their work published, and I can only tell them that it's all a process. It takes time, and it's funny how your priorities shift through the years.
On to some actual writing news.
Yesterday, I finished the edits on a Lovecraftian horror story that will soon be published by Buzzy Mag (thank you, Elektra, for the help on improving the story!).
Also yesterday, I had a Southern horror tale accepted for publication in Q & W's Old Weird South anthology.
I have a middle-grade campfire story coming out in Cool Well Press's Campfire Tales anthology very soon.
I made another sale at SFWA professional rates a few weeks ago that I'll wait to announce until I sign the contract.
I have three other stories under contract to be published in 2012, and I finished the first draft on what I thought was a pretty good sci-fi terrorism novel. My agent is reading that one, and we'll have a conference soon to decide what to do with it.
My second collection, The Silver Coast and Other Stories, will be released on June 12. The collection is out on the review circuit, and The Horror Fiction Review had some nice things to say about it (you'll have to scroll down the blog a little ways to read the review).
I've had a productive time off at the college, writing more than 70,000 words in four months. Sadly, in that time, I've written just one short story. My novella Frozen continues to post some good sales figures, and I'm working hard on the follow-up to that little thriller.
Good things are happening, and I write this post in acknowledgement of how frustrating that waiting game can be early on. It was torture for me as I struggled to improve. I'm not the writer I'll be in six months or six years, and that's a good thing, because I can keep working toward better stories.
Every writer can, and that's the beauty of what we do. I don't see Albert Pujols picking up much bat speed in the next few years but, thankfully, that's not a writer's dilemma. Stephen King's stuff has improved quite a lot in recent years, and that's a real source of inspiration.
Keep writing, and keep working at improvement, and thanks for dropping by this little ol' blog from time to time...