Tuesday, July 28, 2015


I have just realized it is only three weeks until Fall 2015 starts.

This cannot be true.

I am teaching two reading intensive classes, starting in three weeks, and I have read exactly zero books for either of them.

Also, I don't have any of the kid's school supplies.  Except two pairs of jeans, and her shoes.

I am a giant squid of AAAARGH!!!

(I did write several short stories this summer, though, plus I revised and submitted a novel. SO.)


Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Jesus H. Good luck. I am also in a panic that school is starting in like 4 weeks. But guess what? I have just been wrestling with an article all summer, and I have nothing to show for it so far. I'm impressed that you've gotten some creative work done!

delagar said...

I don't have two little kids, though! Just one, and she's 17, and fends for herself (mostly).
When she was little, it was an ENTIRELY different story, believe me.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Well I did send out a short story. But like every single creative thing I've ever put into the world, it was rejected. I think I should give up on creative publishing. By comparison it's way easier to publish scholarly work. I'm tired of getting nowhere with creative work, and I've had some good success with scholarship.

I actually looked up the cost of a book doctor last night to see if I could afford to send my 2010 novel to someone to get fixed up or at least suggestions for it. I was astounded at the cost. So I guess no book doctor for me. :-/ It's very depressing. The only thing I ever wanted to be was a writer. A real one. I don't think it's ever going to happen.

Anonymous said...

We just bought school supplies today (admittedly, just backpack/lunch/water bottle because the school takes care of the rest). Go us!

Earnest English said...

Wow for creative work. Oh Fie, keep writing. Keep writing. If nothing else, your kids need to see you go for your dream. (Listen to Liz Gilbert's Magic Lessons podcasts for inspiration.)

delagar said...

Also, Fie, rejection means nothing. Every single thing I've gotten published was rejected at *least* seven or eight times before it was accepted. Some of the stories were rejected MANY more times than that.

Send them out again! If you get notes from an editor, revise and send out -- or don't, if you think the editor is wrong -- but send the stories out again!

I read a study some years ago, on Strange Horizons, I think it was, which broke down the number of publications by women and the number of publications by men, and the number of submissions by women and the number by men, and fap fap fap, trying to see why so many more men than women were being published in SF/F.

Well, the study was inconclusive, but one of the editors they talked to made a comment that has stuck with me. She said that one behavioral difference she had notice between male and female writers was that when women got a rejection notice they just quit sending the story out; sometimes they just quit writing altogether. Whereas men, she said, mostly just sent the story somewhere else.

And it wasn't because the men were better writers -- they weren't. The women were often the better writers. Men just had more sense of privilege, so they didn't quit.

That changed my approach. Before that, I tended to just send a story out to one place, or maybe two, and when it was rejected, I figured it was terrible, and stopped sending it out. Now I send it out until it gets accepted somewhere.

And -- ALMOST ALWAYS -- it gets accepted somewhere.

Send your work out! Never surrender!

(You are totally right, though, that it's harder to get published in a creative venue than a scholarly one. But try telling the fucking committees on my campus that. They don't even think creative work COUNTS as real academic work. )

delagar said...

Oh, I forgot to say: Skip the book doctor. Those fuckers are scams.

If you can find one, and when you have the time, a good writing group is a lot more useful.

Earnest English said...

delagar and fie, it is harder to get published in a creative venue than a scholarly one. I think the committees at my institution are a bit more flexible (I didn't test them with my tenure case -- I showed the full research total in scholarship and then had creative work on top of it), but I've had requests to explain to them how to value creative work with respect to scholarship. In terms of annual review, it is usually good to say that you have one article being considered somewhere, let's say. But what is that in poems? Short stories? How does getting a poem published this year compare with an article? (It's much easier to get an article published, but a poem is so much smaller and, usually, requires less research. On the other hand, it may get 20 rejections before an acceptance, on average.) Do you, or does anyone, have any ideas about that? Comparing tenure requirements (a book for the vast majority of creative writing jobs versus articles at comparable institutions) seems to get me exactly nowhere as well.

delagar said...

Earnest, what I did when I went up for Full Professor was (1) hunt down and find the acceptance rates at all the places where I had publications. This was I could show the Promotions Committee the "rigor" of the places where I had been accepted; and (2) I hunted down and included in my portfolio reviews of the places where I had been accepted, so that I could establish I had been accepted at prestige journals and magazines and (3) I included reviews of my short stories, my novel, and the anthologies I'd been published in, where possible.

I also included short narrative statements *explaining* what I was doing -- why I was including this information, what it was supposed to tell them.

It felt like over-explaining, but, well...

Earnest English said...

delagar, that is really helpful. Thank you. What great ideas! I did some explaining about the various journals (even for my scholarship -- I'm in a multidisciplinary department), but not with acceptance rates or anything. That info about the journal I get in goes into my annual review reports starting now!

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

So... you all inspired me to take a look at some other stories that I'd written in the past that I thought were worth another shot at trying to publish. I found one that I had forgotten about -- a short story inspired by an incident in my childhood when I saw a car get hit by a train. I reread the story tonight and was absolutely blown away by it. I submitted it to three places immediately. (Yes, I checked to see that they took simultaneous subs.)

Anyway. Thanks for helping me give myself a second chance. Fingers crossed. I remember this story was rejected at least twice with no editor's comments. So who knows...

delagar said...

Good for you, Fie!

And two rejections is *nothing*! Seriously.