I don't think I'm getting rejected enough.
That sounds very odd, but a friend asked how things were going, and I crowed a bit about my acceptance rate. Then I starting thinking about it. Sure, I've placed everything lately, but that's mostly because people have asked for those stories. They can reject them, but I can see why they they'd feel the pressure to take the story anyway. If you have a perfect record, there's nowhere to go but down. That might seem like a negative viewpoint, but it's also freeing. What do I have to lose? My acceptance rate can't possibly stay this good, unless I quit or never take a risk. Pffft to that.
So all the sudden, I have a lot of energy to focus on submissions, and I'm loving it. For the first time in months, I'm hitting all the sites that list calls and I'm looking for likely suspects. Some of the deadlines are coming up quickly, so I can't think about it too long. I have to jump, and jump now. The pressure is part of the energy I'm feeling.
I don't have many stories in reserve. It's not as if I can dig into my files, blow the virtual dust off something, and send it out. Okay - that worked for one submission only because I wrote a very specific piece for an anthology that never made it to print, and the story was too short for most calls, so it sat, unloved, until I saw this new one with a very low word count limit. A couple of the calls ask for work that's already been published, so I have to see what's been published in the past year (this is where not submitting much last year comes back to haunt me) and decide if it will fit what they're asking for. Those are the easier ones. Then there are the ones I really like to make it into, like the Best Women's Erotica series. That deadline is fast approaching, and even though it's a best of, the editor wants unpublished pieces. I'll have to make a time call here. If I can come up with something in the next few days and if it flows well, then I might make that deadline, but I'm not going to force it. There's always next year for that one. (besides, I seem only submit to it once every three years anyway, and I'm only two years out at this point).
It's not that I want my stories to be rejected, but it won't destroy me to see a thanks-but-no-thanks note, and at least I'll have tried. Better to have submitted and been rejected than never to have submitted at all.
I'm putting my perfect record on notice. I'm not going to protect it.