I’ve been in the MFA program for two and a half years, but it’s only since September (September 28, mind you) that I’ve begun sending out work.
Over the summer, I was on the elevator with an econ faculty member who asked me about my writing, and whether or not I was published. I told him no, and that I actually hadn’t been sending out work. “You have to send things out to get published,” he pointed out, in a kind of gently mocking sort of way. He told me he imagined it wasn’t far off from academic papers, and I concurred, only instead of getting revision notes back from a review committee, in fiction you just get form rejections.
I got my first form rejection this week. I was unsurprised and not even upset. I saw the email and I knew what it was. I aimed a little higher than I stand any right to go, I know, but what the hell. I figured I’d let the bigguns reject me before I begin to scale down and down and down. Someone’s going to publish me, eventually.
Well. Better to have stories rejected than the novel. The novel represents a bigger chunk of time. I wrote the short story it’s based on back in fall 2007, revised it in January 2010, and then started research over the summer. So a year’s worth of work and counting.
Le sigh. It’ll be a while yet before that baby starts getting rejections.