Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Essay: Persistence

"One thing I think about, as I work on this writing career of mine, is that anything worth building takes time. Consistent action over time, specifically." - Theodora Goss

I was just reading Shelly Li's old (by Internet years) blog entry entitled "Best of Luck Elsewhere" and she mentions something we've all heard before: the road to publication is paved with rejection slips and takes time. (It is, of course, possible to get published in your first try and I've interviewed some authors wherein that's the case; they're the exception rather than the norm though and let me be the first person to tell you that I'm not exceptional.) Li speaks wise words. I'm even more impressed that this is coming from someone who's ten years my junior and has a prolific bibliography to back it up. (What was I doing when I was eighteen? Not writing fiction, that's what.)

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Theodora Goss who's celebrating 40,000 hits on her site after four months of blogging (Congrats Dora!). Now Goss is a talented writer (she's a big influence on how I read and write speculative fiction) and I'm surprised she hasn't garnered a huge blog following (if I could give her my own readership, I would, because she's that deserving). But just like anything else, it takes time to build an audience. Last month I had 6,000 visitors, but I've also been blogging for a long time (my old Pitas blog is apparently still up). During my first three years of blogging, I barely had an audience. It's only in the last three years that people have started to notice me (and even then, it's mostly a US audience rather than a local one).

And personally, fiction-wise, I had to be persistent as well. My fiction was recently accepted for Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 6 and in fact my stories were were published as far back as Vol. 3. What you haven't heard is how I was already submitting stories since Vol. 1 (and other anthologies as well) but got rejected. It was only during my third year (third time's the charm?) that everything came into place and my story was polished enough not to get rejected.

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