To be able to fail, one must try. And to fail repeatedly, one must try repeatedly. This is where writing submissions come in.
The emerging writer sends out his or her stories, poems, and essays to slushpiles all over the United States. The editors who govern those slush piles then do one of the following:
1. Throw the submission out unopened.
2. Open the submission, then recycle the parts.
3. Open and read the first line. Then recycle.
4. Open and read the first paragraph or stanza. Then recycle.
5. Open and read the entire manuscript. Then recycle.
6. Open, read the entire manuscript, comment, then recycle.
7. Open, read the entire manuscript, comment, share with a colleague, then recycle.
8. Open, read, fall in love, drink heavily, cry, chip a tooth, smear chocolate, share with a colleague, reread, accept, share with another colleague, call, email, edit, and print.
In hopes of causing number eight, I submit regularly. This is what my submission journal looks like:
# – Manuscript submitted – house/editor – date – rejected/accepted – date – comments.