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Friday, 9 October 2009

On Top Of The Spreadsheets

I have devoted a day to sorting out my spreadsheet, which shows all my submissions, with dates, destinations and so on. It includes the dates when competition winners are announced and I noticed this morning that several of those dates had arrived. And I'd heard nothing!

It was disappointing to check through all those entries which clearly haven't made it and colour the boxes red, which denotes 'rejection'. It was a sea of red by the time I'd finished. A River Of Blood! However, I began to shrug off the misery and revel in the prospect of remarketing all these stories that I'd half-forgotten. Some had real possibilities elsewhere. For many, it had been only their first trip out. So there were further opportunities for all of these rejected favourites. I was surprised by how much I still believed in them.

This week, I have also been invited to proof-read a successful story for an anthology, in readiness for publication in the near future. That particular story had had its fair share of rejection too, before achieving this welcome final destination. I am proud of it.

If you retain this pride in your stories and are prepared to keep dusting them down, then they will make it in the end. I have let one or two fester for a bit, having sent them out four times each, but even they will resurface once the right market presents itself.

However, it is only because I have taken a lot of time with my spreadsheet, keeping it up-to-date and tidy, that I can monitor all my stories, especially now there are so many. A system is vital, otherwise you will forget what you have written, where you have sent it, when it winged its way back, when it was accepted, when to expect competition feedback etc. You could even include details such as word-count. I started doing that, but kept forgetting to update it whenever I tweaked a story.

However you do it, on a computer, on paper, a card-index file or on the back of an envelope, make sure you keep on top of it and make it work for you.

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