Michelle Wittle On The Business of Writing

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There comes a time in all our writing lives when our babies grow up. They are done spitting up at us and wetting the bed. They have gone through the hormonal, teen angst phase. It was rough, but we all go through the late night scream fests…the staying out all night…talking on the phone and the internet until school time is all done. Even the drunk college years are all done. Our writing is ready to start applying for “real jobs”.

But how do we organize the “job search”?

This is something I struggle with. The only time I remember who I sent my work to is when they send me the rejection letter. I know that’s horrible. I don’t suggest anyone do that at all. AT ALL.

Because seriously, what happens when someone does take my work and I have to go around searching for the other places I sent my work to? It’s a hassle. A mess.

Yet, I do it.

But it’s a new year. I can’t keep doing the same thing, the same way and thinking I’ll get a different result.

What I’ve decided to do is use an excel spread sheet to organize my writing.
Each piece of work has its own spreadsheet. When the story gets rejected, I move down to the next block in the excel sheet and send my piece to that magazine.

I bring this up because as writers, we need to learn the business of writing. Creating a piece isn’t the hard part; it’s dealing with the constant rejection.

I’m hoping with this new mindset and this new organization approach, I can take out the sting of rejection.

How do you organize your submissions?

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4 thoughts on “Michelle Wittle On The Business of Writing

  1. My suggestion is to use a website as a resource. For short fiction, Duotrope’s submission tracker allows you to keep tabs on what went where and when. Very helpful for when you’re dealing with very slow literary magazines, when sometimes four or eight months pass between first and second contact. For novels, I use QueryTracker. The combination of information as well as comments from other users mean I know what to expect from a particular agent and when to close a query that isn’t going to receive a response.

  2. “The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
    This is why I’m convinced that most writers have a little bit of insanity woven into their genes. It’s what sets us apart. We try and try and try again not because we like the routine but because the stories in our heads won’t let us STOP trying. 🙂
    I write every single query address down whether it’s an email or a letter through snail mail. And when and if I get the rejection, I cross it off my list and move on to the next one. I keep all of my rejections, too–I find it kind of inspirational and a little remarkable when the stack grows higher and higher on my desk.

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