My New Strategy for 2011

I sent out 103 manuscripts to journals in 2010 + I only have one acceptance so far + only 8 manuscripts left in that cycle. I'm not saying it's not worth it to send your shit out there because you kinda have to if you want to get published + since literary agents read literary journals, it's kind of a necessary evil. But now that I know what I know about 2010, I feel like I wasted an incredible amount of time that I could have spent writing. So, my new strategy for 2011 is simple:

1. Write the shit out of The Ninjas of My Greater Self, since that seems to be the book that's getting the most attention for me right now, making it all the more important that I finish it.

2. Send submissions to only the journals that are essentially game-changers, meaning:

The Paris Review
The New Yorker
The Atlantic
Tin House
A Public Space
Southern Review
Black Clock

Now, granted, these are some of the most prestigious journals in the business + will increase my rejection rate from 99% to 99.9%, but I think that's okay because I don't mind being rejected from the glossies/gatekeepers. In fact, though it's unfair, I kinda expect that. With small MFA-affiliated journals, however, I don't expect that kind of rejection, which is a huge mistake since the average fiction reader is a white, 20-something MFA student, often male, highly opinionated, unpublished, insecure, technically competent, idealistic + overworked writer who wants to be the next great American writer. When it comes down to it, fiction readers in MFA programs don't really want to read your shit. They think they do before they get recruited to read for a literary journal, but after two months, it takes up too much time that they need to work on their own shit, not to mention all the crap that's getting dumped on their lap in workshop. In the context of MFA programs + reading for literary journals, rejection--whether it's deserved or not--becomes the most effective way to get back to your own writing, sad to say. Also, with that extra .9%, I will feel like I'm really fighting for a dream since getting picked up in any one of the above journals will change your writing career in some way. Not so with most of the very good + very small literary journals peppered all across America. Lastly, lots of major writers have found their agents or started their career with the following journals. If it sounds like I'm vaguely giving up the prospect of publishing new stories in journals, I actually am. I won't stop fighting, but I will stop expecting it to work out + focus more on my writing, which is the only thing I used to care about when I first started writing.

In the meantime, I'm gonna spend less time mailing out stories to journals my parents have never heard of and more time working on my second novel, which is probably where my literary career begins anyway. And if I'm wrong + one of the above journals picks up one of my stories, all the better, but I'm definitely not expecting that, at least not without an agent.