Reflections from square one

Back to zero. Time for reflection.

Robert Heinlein is credited with coining the Rules of Writing:

  1.  You must write.
  2.  You must finish what you write.
  3. You must not rewrite except to editorial order.
  4. You must submit what you finish.
  5. You must keep submitting until the story is sold.

I’m not too conscientious about 1, a bit iffy about 2, but 4 and 5 I’ve taken to heart with extreme prejudice*. I’ve been in the story submission game for over 21 years now. Today, for the first time in 15 years, I have not a single story out on submission.

In all that time, I’ve sold 52 stories (42 English originals, 3 Dutch originals, and 7 of my own translations into either Dutch or English) and three novels, all by stubbornly resubbing them the very day a rejection came in. Added up, these stories and novels collected 306 rejections, and spent 27,322 days in their various slush piles, before getting accepted.

I’ve retired five stories and a poem that are probably beyond salvation (though I may yet return to some of them). I’ve taken one rejected novel and reworked it into my 2nd novel (appearing Jan 2024).

Which leaves only four stories that I deem completed, and that I would have liked to sell, but that have unfortunately run out of markets to send them to.

Heinlein was right.

* And 3? 3 is easy. I’m reluctant to even rewrite to editorial order, let alone voluntarily.