April 12, 2012

Spring: Season of False Hopes

Subtitle: How a Seattle Spring is like Duotrope

This blue sky? It's a lie.

This morning when I looked outside it was gorgeous, not a cloud in the sky. Trees everywhere are making mad love everywhere, blooming extravagantly in white and pink. Green things are poking through the earth and looking at each other like expectant groundhogs. It's spring!

By noon dark grey clouds filled the sky. It rained a few drops. The thin coat I'd worn to the coffee shop was insufficient to keep the wintry wind from chilling me.

This is spring in Seattle. You know it's spring because the calendar and the Internet say so. In theory, it's just over two months to summer. But you know in your heart that the calendar lies. Summer isn't just around the corner; it won't show up until at least July. Hell, it might not come at all.

Okay, so here's my analogy. Warm weather is like publishing a story. And knowing it's supposed to be spring is like watching Duotrope.com. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a wonderful resource for writers, a wonderfully up-to-date database of markets complete with submission guidelines, response times, and lists of recent responses. If you're a writer and you haven't been there yet, go now!

But as fantastic as Duotrope is, it's also horrible. You can go in there (as I did today) and obsess over late responses. You can look at recent responses and theorize that you'll get a rejection soon, or worse, you can theorize that since your response is taking longer than average, surely an acceptance is just around the corner.

I did this today, and literally as I was looking at a late market and mentally spending my semi-pro payment, the rejection arrived in my inbox. Like clouds and cold rain.

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