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The Yeses and Nos...

Creating something and putting it out in the public eye isn't for everyone. No matter what you create, whether it's art, music, or the written word, you're going to have your critics. I mean, The Bible is the most widely published, most circulated book in history of the world, yet many people still criticize it as boring, "too wordy", and hard to follow. That's the nature of things.

I have amassed a huge amount of rejections. That's part of the process. My work isn't for everyone and I'm okay with that. (Not really, I think I should be famous and critically acclaimed by now). Each rejection stings, but I turn around and send out another submission. I have had eight short stories and a novel accepted for publication, so I must be doing something right sometime.

But it's the Nos that push me. I've been rejected by some of the best journals and publications around. The New Yorker, Harper's, Ploughshares, Cat Fancy (not really) and the list goes on. I work harder, hone my craft, revisit those submissions, and work to make them better. It's what a writer does. Even the best writers, the "masters", have endured rejections. It's not something you can take personally.

But when you're going through a long dry spell of Nos, the occasional Yes makes it all worth while. It's like when your kid has been terrible all day, but when you put them to bed they say "I love you so so much." You kinda forget about all the other stuff.

So I write. I rewrite. I edit, and I write more. Sometimes I fumble my way onto an idea or story that resonates with someone and they say Yes. I celebrate. My self esteem goes back up, my confidence balloons, and I go on. I must, for I am a writer and I must write.

Many people don't know this, but for 19 years, I sat my writing aside to take care of a personal situation. I still thought about stories. I still wanted to write, but there wasn't much time. I did publish a few poems during those years, but nothing major. My soul was miserable, it was yearning to release all these stories to the world. I started back writing in January 2018, with Souls Harbor. Since then I have written five novels, and nineteen short stories and have three novel ideas bouncing around in my head right now.

It feels good to be back writing. My soul is happy again.

-John


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