Just finished a Short-Fiction writing class of four consecutive Sundays. Great instructor. Has published short pieces in various journals, is Editor of a successful on-line journal, has a book collection of his shorts (great feedback from Amazon customer reviewers). At the end of class #3 he told us it took him 11 years to get published. He sent out, got rejected, kept sending out, to a variety of places; kept getting rejections, repeatedly. So he sent to lesser known places with lesser known circulations, finally meeting with success and getting his publishing career started.
I had been complaining – pre-class and to myself – of the few hours each week I needed to spend on the writing assignments. I've read stories of rejection in books about writing, heard about rejection from authors discussing their newly published books. But, like no other, this guy's “11-years” story really got to me. In my mind I considered my weekly writing time and multiplied it by weeks of the month, then months of the year, then projected it into an 11 year future, with nothing published. How could this not produce despair? How could anyone persist for all those years without some external indication of success?
The love of writing must be overpowering. To those dedicated souls, where the drive to keep working at their craft comes from their love of creation, their love of story and the beauty of words, this seems to be itself a meaning of success.
After class, I crossed the icy street on that cold January afternoon, opened my car, warmed it up. As I drove home, I considered my instructor, felt lucky I was taking his course, and felt deep admiration.