It is the best of times; it is the worst of times, to paraphrase Mr. Dickens. Worst of times may be stretching it, as I hardly think the first-of-the-month writing-reckoning can compare to getting your head chopped off in a revolution. But turning the calendar to the new month always seems like the best of times. Goal-setting giddiness is upon me.
Since I’m a very goal-oriented person, I use goals to achieve Fame and Fortune on my Road to Publication. For example, I may say to myself, “Self, you must finish at least one chapter of your book today. Then, and only then, are you allowed to leave this chair and take a shower. And maybe grab a Milky Way to eat along the way to bathing.”
Mr. Hall is not too keen on shower-taking being a writing goal. Come to think of it, the Milky Way goal doesn’t work very well when he’s around, either. But that is not the point. The point is the goal-setting. So getting back to that, the first day of the month is a time to check markets, when publishing hopes spring eternal! Unfortunately, that day coincides with my writing-reckoning.
To put it another way, that’s when I reckon I’ve been rejected. Sometimes it’s spelled out for you: “If you haven’t heard from us by (insert first of month date here) you can assume we have passed on your submission.”
Well, there’s no mistaking that one, is there? Other times, it’s a little wishy-washy: “We have so many submissions, we can’t possibly read them all, much less reply. If you still want to submit, please realize that you probably won’t hear from us unless you are John Updike. And even then, there are days when we are in a very un-John Updike kind of mood. Attention John Updike: You may hear something from us around the first of the month. Or not.”
Naturally, I submit. Because, like I said, I have goals to reach. And being rejected by at least 10 markets a month is (apparently) one of them. However, I also have a goal of being accepted by at least one market a month. When that happens, I treat myself to two Milky Ways (and possibly a nice leg-shaving in the shower).