Last year, after a horrible turn of events, I found myself writing about a specific situation. Fragments of thoughts, here and there. Raw and beautiful, flowery language. That’s what publications like, I’d been told. But there was no real plot, no underlying point or theme. So when I went to submit the story to literary magazines, the piece was rejected. Twice, in fact.
Afterwards, I turned my attention toward my book instead of thinking about the failure. I didn’t want to dwell on the fact that I’d failed the subject matter, or the person I’d been vaguely influenced by. And then a year passed, and winter break once again descended into chaotic sorrow. I’d had a grand plan to start a new project and finish it by January but neither my heart nor my mind could persuade me to do so.
The only thing that did excite me was the upcoming Write-A-Thon from The Young Writers Initiative. It was a chance to sit in my dorm all day and write little stories, instead of tackling novel-length works, but I hadn’t planned on entering anything into the 24 hour literary magazine submission challenge. Mostly, I hoped it was going to inspire me to write content for my January Short Term class, which delved into the topics of Absurdism and Surrealism. I had been panicking about what I would submit for my creative pieces each week. Then it occurred to me that I could dig something out of my Google Drive, and lo and behold, I discovered my “Starry Night” short story from the year before, barely a page long, lacking in any sort of conflict other than depression. Using that as my starting point, I revised the piece and added a couple more pages, and feeling satisfied, I submitted the assignment.
The next day was the Write-A-Thon, and I thought: why not try again? what do I have to lose?
I ended up submitting “Starry Night” (renamed) to two magazines since I couldn’t figure out which theme it fit better. In the end, both accepted, and I had to decide where I wanted my work!
To put things into perspective, I had just finished reassembling my dorm after being relocated due to a water break, and the first acceptance sent me over the moon. I sat down and reread the email a dozen times, at least. At first I was quite shocked, but then I just felt so relieved. Joyful! To the point where I blasted some music through my headphones and had my own little dance party, since my roommate hadn’t arrived on campus yet.
So, for all the writers out there reading this blog: please don’t give up. Sometimes things need time. It’s all about the waiting game, as well as being courageous enough to share your writing when it may terrify you. And of course, if you ever need anything at all, don’t hesitate to reach out! I would be more than happy to provide more encouragement or cover a topic of your choosing on this blog!
Sophia’s pieces, in the upcoming months, will be found in: