The kids are back in school. Sheryl’s too short vacation is over and she has returned to the office. The house has resumed its usual daytime stillness, settling back into routine.

Welcome to winter.

Oh, and welcome to the first Wednesday of the month, which is of course when the members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group gather to share our writing adventures, successes and failures. Check us out here-http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Every writer is an insecure one, so join in the fun.


I am roughly four weeks away from learning the fate of my poetry chapbook. The fine folks at http://www.blacklawrence.com/ are at this moment, selecting the finalists, which hopefully includes my work. I entered fairly early in the window, so the wait has been/felt extra long. I’d like to pretend there were days I didn’t worry, or wonder. Less time has been spent stressing about it all than in October (the sleepless nights I’ll never get back), and I’ve swallowed the nervousness that kept me from even looking at the poems (certain there would be a million typos, misspelled words). Still, I am more than ready for this process to come to a conclusion. I feel confident about the work, and if for some reason, I am not a finalist, I will be alright.


But dammit, I so want to win.

When I was sending out query letters for my first novel, I fully expected the rejection. I never felt I’d created a solid letter, and if I wasn’t sure about what I was submitting, it was unlikely any agent reading it would feel any differently.

In this contest (unless they are being completely dishonest about the process), it is a blind reading, and no one on the committee has any clue who wrote what until after the decisions have been made. My ability to write about my work is not being evaluated, but rather the writing itself. I’ve always thought that if I could get someone at some press somewhere to actually read my work, that would be all it took.

What if I’m completely wrong?

I know, I know, rejection is rarely about the person (right?), but that doesn’t make this any less frightening. And maybe rejecting me would actually be less disheartening than rejecting what I’ve created.

Four more weeks…

Maybe I need some company in my misery. Do any of you have some heartbreaking rejection stories you’d like to share?




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About Ryan Carty

There are some who call me, Tim?

21 responses to “IWSG-January”

  1. Chrys Fey says :

    I have my fingers crossed for you. I hope you receive good news. 🙂

  2. Liesbet says :

    I understand your anguish and nervousness, Ryan. I can’t even fall asleep when my mind is churning on much less important matters than the bravery of submitting a work of art and skill! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you!

    As for rejections, I can only speak about article submissions. I have to admit that I am more often ignored than getting a rejection. I would prefer the second option, though, and hate the “laziness” and “disrespect” of some magazine editors who leave you hanging!

    • fenster says :

      I’m pretty sure if I’m not a finalist, I won’t hear anything at all, which I’m sure will be very annoying. My plan is to wait until the 1st of Feb. then find another contest if I hear nothing. I’ve got some short story ideas and places to submit them rolling about in the background. Onward and upward is still the mantra.

  3. ahtdoucette says :

    4 more weeks. Crossing fingers for you! The important thing is you tried and hopefully you’ll get some good feedback one way or the other. I agree with Liesbet, no feedback just silence is the worst, even just a form rejection letter. I’ve never had an editor insult me or anything like that. It wouldn’t be professional. More like “good but not for us” or “good but you need to work on __” (those latter are the best, but I know, so much work for hard-working editorial staff.) What’s the worst that can happen right? And – what’s the best? 🙂

    • fenster says :

      When I was getting the “No thanks” letters from agents, I was surprised at how unaffected I was by them. That they were form letters addressed to, “Dear Writer” helped a great deal. The one personal rejection I received was so full of good suggestions that I almost cried from happiness. I’ll keep going, regardless of the outcome.

  4. doreenb8 says :

    Oh the agony of the wait…
    I am sending good vibes and good luck and wish you the best! Happy New Year to you.

  5. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor says :

    Fingers crossed they pick you. And they should, if they have any sense 🙂 Waiting to find out about something like this is pure agony, especially when it’s a long drawn out process.

  6. Alex J. Cavanaugh (@AlexJCavanaugh) says :

    Just don’t lose hope. Or any more sleep. It’s out of your control and if you did the best job you could, then that’s all you can do.
    You should read Jen Chandler’s latest post – she won the IWSG Anthology Contest – because it will give you a lot of hope and confidence.
    Wishing you all the best and hope they pick yours!

  7. Michelle Wallace says :

    I feel your anguish…but don’t lose hope or give up. Your poetry is wonderful!
    I hope the fine folks have the courtesy to at least respond in one way or the other…
    Sending positive vibes your way! 🙂

    Happy New Year, Ryan!

  8. Shannon Lawrence says :

    Good luck! Waiting is so hard, especially when it’s a long one. I always find it hardest to be rejected after I’ve been shortlisted. Those are the ones that break my heart, because I allow myself to hope this one’s going to happen. Recently, one of my stories was being considered for an anthology that had already secured several authors I really looked up to. I made it to second considerations, and I thought this was the moment I began really making it. Nope. Rejection. Sob.

  9. Diane Burton says :

    You must be on pins and needles waiting for the announcement. Been there. I hope you’re using those feelings in your writing. Wishing you good luck.

  10. jmh says :

    Good luck, Ryan! And I’d be happy to look at your query letter next time. I’m pretty good at those–especially if they’re not mine.

    As for heartbreaking rejection stories, I have two for you. One sad, one funny.

    First, the sad. In 2015, I spent several thousand dollars to go to a writer’s conference because I was convinced one of the agents was The Agent, but she didn’t accept cold queries–the only way to get her to read your work was to meet her at a conference.

    So I went, and we hit it off. She sat with me at breakfast. We had long talks in the hallway. She even gave me all of her special comps–free breakfasts, etc., that she hadn’t used. She said, “Unless your writing sucks, you’re in.” She read my published book during the con, and she asked for two fulls. Wow, right? I was SO excited.

    Unfortunately, the published book was a novella and she somehow got the idea all I wrote was novellas, no matter how often I tried to correct her. After reading one of my fulls, she rejected it, saying it read like a “short story.” (It was almost 400 pages.) And then she said the kicker–“I don’t want to see anything more from you for at least a year.” As if I’d want to send her anything after that! It was heartbreaking at the time.

    Now the funny–an agent once used my self-addressed, stamped envelope for his own marketing campaign! He mailed me an ad for his own book on how to get published. Classy, yes?

    • fenster says :

      Sheesh! Those are both really sad when you think about them. The first feels like it was some sort of test. “Let’s see how she handles this bogus and unfounded rejection.” Boo. I’m glad you didn’t send her another precious word.

      The second guy sounds like a complete tool. Dodged a bullet there, you did.

      • jmh says :

        I agree! Dodged many, many bullets so far. If you really want a “laugh,” I’ll tell you about why I ended up having to fire the agent I did get. 😀

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