Me: I sold a story!
Story: Congratulations. That’s a big accomplishment and very well deserved.
Me: I couldn’t have done it without you.
Story: Not to toot my own horn, but that’s pretty much true.
Me: It was only to a small market, though.
Story: So? What does that matter. Big or small, selling a story or having it accepted for publication is a really big thing. You know how many people never get their stories published?
Me: No, how many?
Story: Most never do. That’s how many. So you have no reason to feel bad about the acceptance because it’s to a smaller market, even a non-paying one. The next story you write may be accepted by a larger market, or find a home in some other venue that will pay. Every time you write, every time you sell a story, you are advancing your craft. That’s how you write. That’s how you grow.
Me: I never thought of it that way.
Story: That’s because like most writers you’re not thinking long term. You only judge yourself by the now, by how many stories you have written, how many are submitted, how many have sold. You rarely take time to view yourself and your work through a longer lens. That’s not your fault. You should concentrate on writing. I’m only saying there is more to you, and your ability, than what you perceive on a moment to moment basis. I would go so far as to say every time you submit a story and see it rejected it’s still advancement. Writers don’t like to see failure as progress, but that’s only because they want to view their work as a zero sum game. Writing is not a zero sum game and it was never meant to be. Writing is deeper than that, but I can see you’re not paying attention to me.
Me: Thanks for the pep talk, but all I know at the moment is I am happy because I sold a story.
Story: Again, congratulations. Um…you know what comes next, right?
Me: I get to celebrate?
Story: Well, yes. You deserve to do that. But afterward you must come right back here.
Me: What for?
Story: So you can write the next story, of course.