Day 77 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Not A Good Fit

If you’ve submitted short fiction for any period of time, you’ll probably recognize the phrase in the title of this post. The phrase “not a good fit” has been typed in many a form letter. But what does it mean? I’d ask myself that question standing outside my mailbox with a self-addressed-stamped envelope in my hand, my eyes watering from allergies thanks to the pollen from a Georgia spring dousing the cars with green.

I have discovered that the phrase “not a good fit” means exactly that. The story, the application, the whatever is not a good fit for what the magazine or the organization needs at the time. It could be the length is wrong. It could be that they just bought another story that has the same theme as yours. It could just be that the protagonist has the same name as the slush reader’s ex. It could be the story is not right for the magazine. It could be my craft level is not where it needs to be for that magazine.

I was thinking about this because a friend and I applied for a mentorship program. She asked me if I got in. I did not. She was not offered a mentorship but could sit in on the group discussions. So. Turns out that I received the lowest form of rejection – the form rejection.

I wondered why it didn’t send me in a spiral like it would have 5 years ago. But. Like when it comes to jobs, I am learning (and probably am writing the same thing about it again and again to cement it in my brain) is that I don’t want to be anywhere where I don’t fit. I trust the people running the magazine, the workshop, the fellowship or whatever I happen to be applying to know who fits and who doesn’t. And do you want to know why I came to the observation? Pure selfishness.

Let’s say that I am accepted into a workshop where I don’t fit. My goals are different than the goals of the people running the workshop and my career path is different from those who have graduated from the workshop. I get there. Everything is tailored to let’s say an academic, work for hire, traditional publishing type of career and I’m more interested in a self-publishing career. Not only have I taken a slot that would be better suited for someone else, I’m wasting my energy, my focus, and my time. And once time is spent, I can’t get it back.

If my goal is to build a readership and my work is published in magazines that my readers don’t subscribe to, is it really a benefit to be published there?

So, as the saying goes – rejection is God’s protection. Earlier this year, I went to an afternoon tea by myself. I was used to doing things by myself, so I didn’t think anything about signing up for it and paying the fee. Well, when I arrived ready for my first afternoon tea experience the hostess gave me a poor thing kind of look, and rubbed my back in commiseration that I was there by myself.

While the white rose tea was excellent and the food on point (it was catered and it showed), I wouldn’t go back there again even to shop for tea because of how I felt. Now. If the afternoon tea announcement simply said they prefer at least parties of 2 or more than I would have saved my money and probably gone back with a group or with a friend and had a wonderful experience. It would have been better for me and the shop. It would have been better if I had not gone at all.

Here’s the other thing about rejection being protection. Sometimes the simplest answer is that I’m not at the craft level, yet. An experience that could be great for me at Year 10 of writing, could have destroyed me at Year 1.

At the end of the day, I believe in minding my business. Sometimes, it’s difficult to know what that business is. My business is telling stories and getting better. Dassit. That’s what I’m gonna concentrate on doing.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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As of Day 77, – 3/17/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

140,962/ 155,848 / 740,784

About Irette Y Patterson

Irette Y Patterson is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and romance. She has been published in FIYAH, Strange Horizons, Translunar Travelers Lounge and on the website of The Saturday Evening Post. When not writing, you can find her digging around in her garden or catching the latest musical in the theater.
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