Failing at NaNoWriMo & Winning at Rejections

Pic from memeshappen.

This year, because I am susceptible to peer pressure and I just love saying yes to things, I participated in NaNoWriMo.

I was off to a great start early in the month—racking up the daily word counts, writing scenes, figuring out characters, going hard at the cannibalism, etc.

But then I hit a wall, and I never got through it or around it. I spent a few minutes every day writing crap and then worse crap, because if I couldn’t hit 50k words, I was at least going to open that document and type into it every day.

And I did! I have 20k words that I did not have at the start of the month. I mean, at least half of those words can be deleted and never mentioned again, but I have SOMETHING where before I had nothing. My protagonist, Beth, is alive. She doesn’t know what the fuck she’s doing, but she EXISTS. I know her voice. I know (most of) her origin story. And when I can bear to open that document again (in February? Maybe?) I will get back to her and figure some things out.

So my verdict as a NaNo newbie is this: Do it if you want to, as long as you won’t be mad at yourself/give up/despair at the end of the month if you don’t hit that 50k wordcount goal. (I will be doing it again next year—maybe working on the same novel! Maybe writing more terrible terrible crap!) It’s fun to connect with other writers who are also NaNo-ing, whether you’re celebrating wins or encouraging each other or just sort of crying together because what’s in your head won’t come out on the computer screen. Yay community!

In other writing news, things are pretty wonderful.

In 2022, so far, I’ve submitted to journals/magazines/presses/podcasts/agents/etc. 152 times. That’s a mix of short stories, poems, essays, a short story collection manuscript, and a poetry chapbook manuscript.

I’ve gotten 13 acceptances, which I’m so grateful for. Big thanks to:

50-Word Stories for publishing “Not Yet,” and for naming it Story of the Week;

The podcast Terrify Me! with Antony Frost, for reading my short essay “Meeting Nancy” on the show;

50-Word Stories, again, for publishing “Emissaries,” and for naming it Story of the Week;

Defunkt Magazine, for publishing “Falling to Pieces,” in their “Anatomy” issue, and for their continued awesomeness as friends;

Nocturne Magazine for publishing “Still Love” and for stunning me with a Pushcart Prize nomination (I will be forever grateful);

Monstrous Books and Crystal Lake Publishing for accepting “No Rest Nor Relief For You With Me Dead” for the upcoming anthology Shakespeare Unleashed (I screamed when I opened that email);

Black Hare Press (Australia) for publishing “I Take” and “Ghost-Knocking” in their Nom Nom Halloween drabble anthology;

Hearth & Coffin for publishing “Research Cycle” in their “Creature Feature” issue;

Ravens Quoth Press for accepting “Wanted” for their upcoming Psythur 1 anthology;

CultureCult Press for publishing “Rest for the Wicked” in HAUS: Anthology of Haunted House Stories;

Diet Milk Magazine for accepting “Dare You” for their Gothic Advent Calendar “In the Bleak Midwinter;”

And to someone who is working on a not-yet-announced project who invited me to submit and then accepted my story (I will holler about that when I can!).

Thanks, too, to all the editors who sent me a dozen-plus kind and encouraging rejections this year (including two for the poetry chapbook). While there’s disappointment for me in those, there is also a lot of hope, and I take them as a sign of good things to come.

I’ve already hit my #100rejections goal, and I’ll sail past it by the time all the responses come in for 2022 submissions. (Thank you to my 100 Rejections buddies and to everyone in all my writing groups for celebrating those Rs with me!)

I have so much more to say about this year, but one long, gushing blog post is enough for now.

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