Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Seven Stages of a New Writer

A Satire.

Stage 1: Hopeful. Timid fingers tap across the keyboard. A story forms. How exciting! It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. He reads it through, again and again, making sure the flow is smooth and the writing is clear.

Stage 2: Elation. At last! He has finished a few stories! Now to get them published. Excited, trembling he finds a list of possible places to send his work. There are so many. Who will have the privilege of first publishing this dynamic new writer? He sends off his work, a tear in his eye.

Stage 3: Dreamy. Which award will he win? The Stoker? The Nebula?

Stage 4: Denial. Ouch, a rejection! How could they reject a great story like that? Look at the drivel they publish by "established" writers! All those -ing words and adverbs!

Stage 5: Grief. More rejections. He's a terrible writer. He should give up. His time might be better spent surfing the internet. Or taking up a new hobby. He was good at pinewood derbies so long ago. Ah, the innocence of youth. His wife says things like "Oh God, do I have to hear this again?"

Stage 6: Anger. Even more rejection. What's with these editors? He can't be that bad! Form after form. Look at all those horrible writers on the internet. They don't even have complete sentences! He writes a story about how the evil editor gets eaten by an alien plant. That'll show 'em!

Stage 7: Bargaining. Forget the Nebula. He just wants to publish in a reputable magazine.

Okay, a pro magazine.

Okay, a semipro magazine.

Doesn't anyone want to read his stories?

Stage 8: Non-acceptance. He won't accept defeat. Ever. Repeat.

P.S.: As an interesting side note, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, who came up with the Five Stages of Grief, was convinced of the validity of near death experiences.


  1. Is self-publishing included in step 7? For me, that would be admitting defeat -- but I've seen plenty of writers doing it.

  2. I don't think self-publishing counts yet. I'm also, at this point, shying away from 4 the Luv gigs. Check back with me in a few more months-- I may have changed my mind.

  3. The rejections used to bother me, too, but now they don't even phase me. "Oh, look, another agent turned me down. What's for dinner?" It's amazing how quickly you get used to them. And then right when you're used to it - Bam! You're MS will get picked up. That's what happened to me two weeks ago. It happens but takes time.

  4. Stage 9.
    Post jokey comments on writers forums and hide your tears behind a mask of laughter.