This is a post of frustration. I want that known right up front. Because this might come off as whiny/bitchy/cranky/crabby/selfish and a whole lot of other not so nice words (that I’ve grown accustomed to being called).
But there’s a lot of frustration in writing. There’s frustration in trying to get the right tone, the right word choice, the right pacing, the right dialogue, the right word count.
And then there’s the frustration of getting your work published. Finding a publication that fits your story, following all of the guidelines (which an border on ridiculous, but that’s another post for another day), submitting, waiting, and then hoping that whoever is on the other end reading your work will like it and if they do like it, they can use it. And, of course, there’s the frustration of rejection that goes along with that. After so many times, you start wondering about the story in question.
Speaking of wondering, there’s also the frustration of being read. As in nobody seems to want to read your work. Friends, family, acquaintances, Twitter followers, Facebook friends, nobody is interested. No offense! But they just don’t like that kind of story.
It’s the last two frustrations that are currently topping my frustration cup.
I take submission guidelines seriously. I don’t want to waste their time or mine. As such, I scrutinize what publishers want very carefully. And it seems like what they want, I ain’t got. Finding a good fit for my stories seems to be getting harder and harder every time I look. I realize that part of the problem is my own limitations because there’s only one place that I submit to that doesn’t pay. Every other publication I look at has to give me some sort of coin for my work. And I limit myself even further because I try to approximate those token payments as closely I can to the work I’m submitting, i.e., how much would I lose on this story if this place published it.
I realize how snobby and entitled that sounds, but do you get paid for YOUR work? Yeah, I bet you do. Now considering I can put weeks/months into a 2,500 word story only to be offered five bucks for it (a penny a word is my baseline, so that story would net me 25 bucks), yeah, I’m going to shoot for a better payday.
This is a frustration I’ve mentioned before, but I’m mentioning it again because I feel it bears repeating. Call it a need for justification. It’s a head-banging-against-a-wall feeling that non-writers have trouble relating to.
The second frustration is really hitting me hard lately because I’m in need of some support and I don’t know where to go to get it. I write horror fiction for the most part. It’s not a genre that a lot of people I know care for. Of the ones that would read it, there seems to be a real lack of time on their part. Read that as they have lives and don’t have time to beta for me. And that’s fine. I understand it.
But it still frustrates the hell out of me.
It would be nice to have someone, anyone, take an actual interest in my work. Without me forcing them. Without me begging them to make some time to read a story. Without me feeling like I’m nagging people. Without me feeling like I’m guilting people into it.
But I haven’t reached that point in my career yet. I’m not in demand, even with people that actually know me. It’s understandable, but no less of a bummer.
And no less frustrating.