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Thursday, May 26, 2005

How to Get Published Fast,
Part II: It's All in the Wrist

You’ve slaved over your manuscript for eons.

Obsessive revision has whittled your once lithe fingers to bloody nubs. You’ve managed, somehow, to slide several cardboard coffee sleeves over each wrist, but you can’t remember why.

You are a word warrior.

But the only acceptance letters you're receiving are the ones you've dreamed up in your fantasies. Those letters that not only validate your superior writing technique, but arrive with a $5000 check, and an invitation to conduct a workshop so that other writers would benefit from your brilliance.

In some of those dream letters, the editors inform you that they have forwarded a memo to the MLA, proposing that the particular specimen of writing you've submitted has caused them to rethink the way in which the English language is constructed. They prefer your take on our revered tongue, and by golly, it's time for a change, isn't it?

But dreams are dreams, and your mailbox isn't bearing any good news today. And you're tired of waiting, and hoping. You're tired of praying and rejection. And some days, you're actually tired--sick and tired, of writing.

I’ve had my share of rejections. Everything from no response and a wasted stamp to terse, gray, form letters. Hey editors, don’t tell me ‘best of luck in placing my work elsewhere’; I know eye-rolling when I read it. I don’t want your pity. Unless there's money in it, that is.

Writers, are you as tired of this game as I am? Well, circumvention is the mother of overnight success, and for some of us, the long dues-paying route is just too damn long. I’ve discovered a better way; it’s faster and the results are just about nearly guaranteed.

You’re wondering, is this an ad for a critiquing service?

No, my friend. You won’t have to hire an editor or critiquing service. As a matter of fact, you’ll never again have to second guess an original draft. And years from now you’ll wonder aloud, “I wish I could remember what red looks like.”

Can you imagine never having to bother with a cloying, ass kissing query letter again? Just make sure your name and address are correctly noted on the manuscript, so the check gets to the right place, and your job is done.

I know what you're thinking: Impossible. There are steps to be taken and rules to follow and any number of deities to petition. How can a writer ignore time tested advice on what makes a salable manuscript and still get published?

Witchcraft.

Indeed, natural forces are at work steering outcomes. Energies, that for whatever reason, propel one project toward success, and another into the slush pile. Writers work with these energies all the time--unaware--letting fate prescribe one random failure after another. Harnessing and directing these powers, however, ensures a positive result every time.

Creative souls understand on some level, that something beyond the mechanics of writing is in play when it comes to success as writers. Notoriously superstitious, we approach the actual submission process like shamans. I mail manuscripts on days that add up to a multiple of four, which is my lucky number according to my numerology chart. Stamps must be licked four times, envelope flaps must be pressed four times, and the whole package smudged with a sage wand.

I follow this routine fastidiously, but it doesn’t always work, so then I figure I need to change it up a bit. Maybe there is an additional step that could be done in fours, or maybe I’m praying wrong, or at the wrong time of day. Perhaps I should invoke divine aid in Hebrew, or Latin, or Sanskrit.

I’ve driven myself crazy trying to find that perfect ritual—that alchemical recipe which turns words into money and acclaim. It’s the coffee one day, then it’s whether or not the coffee is iced, or home brewed as opposed to barista expressed. No, it can't be the coffee, I theorize. I should be taking baths instead of showers; it’s the water. Then it’s the soap or shampoo.

By the time I’ve finished a piece, I’ve appeased every deity, obeyed every precept, avoided every sidewalk crack, and founded at least two new religions. From all this I've learned two things:

1) Why I never have time to write
2) I need a sacred circle to make all the above effective.

So, donate your Elements of Style and On Writing Well and The Art of Writing Query Letters to your community library, and stock your office with oil of Eucalyptus and green spell candles, and last but not least--cast that magik circle before you do anything.

You are a successful writer. You are a successful writer. You are a successful writer. You are a successful writer.

Blessed Be.


Cindy

4 Comments:

Blogger Rhein said...

Cindy, this stuff is hilarious! Sadly, because i can relate to all of it!!!!! including that darn magik circle, which i tried desperately to perfect via quabala, $2000 later found out it didn't work a bit. and all this while maintaining what my friends call my shitty day job. bleh--


your comment on my poem made my day.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Cindy St. Onge said...

Thank you Rhein!

It was very cathartic to write. I feel so much better knowing there are writers out there who've gone to extreme lengths to attain success. By extreme, I don't mean a measure of effort or endurance, but applying methods which are past the boundaries of sanity and reason.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Rock Kauser said...

Place upon my alter

Bell, book and candle

Bow before the dark

Turn thrice to the north

Carve the Pentagram

Bleed deeply

5:29 AM  
Blogger Cindy St. Onge said...

Hi Rock!

I like. Very cool and witchy.

8:49 AM  

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