write to remain hopeful

It’s very satisfying to finish a piece of writing, bundle it up, and send it out into the world. Psychologically, it’s important for me to complete and submit work. Sure, many of them return unsold, but at least I’m in the game.

Recently, I read an apt quote on the subject by Isaac Asimov:

You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.

This subject came up in conversation among writer friends recently. I paraphrased Asimov: “Your writing will not benefit you if it remains in a drawer.”

Once it’s done, the story needs to go out and search for a home.

In between you have to continue to write. This issue came up as well, and a friend of mine put it: “For your own protection you must keep writing.” Because if you don’t, and in the meantime the few pieces all return unsold, it’s difficult to remain motivated and optimistic about your writing.

If a story comes home–head hanging and heels dragging–and you have other stories out to market, it’s easier to remain philosophical, and pack it off to another magazine for scrutiny.

I’m at the point where I view a lag with suspicion. I want to have pieces under review continuously. I note this as someone who doesn’t complete work as quickly as other writers. I note this to remind myself of a basic fact:

Hope is vital.

It sustains you during rejection. It’s important to keep the guttering candle of hope alight, because it’s easy to extinguish.

And it’s damned hard to write in the dark.