Best Before: Yesterday

The publishing process takes a long time. It’s a known fact, and something I’ve come to accept. But somehow I still find myself feeling like the clock is ticking, like the sand is running out on the hour glass, and there’s an anvil hanging over my head. Somehow, I feel like there’s an invisible window to getting published, and if I don’t make it in that time, I’m finished.

I feel like there’s an expiration date stamped on my forehead, and it reads: Best Before Yesterday.

Now I know this is basically irrational, but I can’t help the feeling. Maybe you know what I’m talking about. When I get another rejection, that little voice wonders: was that it? How close am I to the point where I’ve used up all my chances? I wonder if it won’t happen this year, or the next, or at all.

But here’s the thing. The little voice doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Yes, maybe it’s good so I don’t get my head too high up in the clouds without some dose of reality. But that little voice is wrong.

There is no expiration date. If I don’t get it this time, I’ll try the next, and the next, and the next. There is a part of publishing that is pure chance and luck. Finding the right agent, at the right time, with the right words. But there is also a huge part that is persistence.

By not giving up, and putting myself out there again and again and again, not only am I ahead of the crowd but I increase my chances of getting a yes with every time. I could get a hundred nos, and it wouldn’t matter. All it takes is one yes.

It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, just started, or have been trying for years. You do not have an expiration date. Let me say that again. You do not have an expiration date. Maybe that’s hard to believe if you’ve been at this a long time. You just started, you say. You’ve only been doing this a few months, you have no idea how hard it is. Yes, it is hard. It is hard to the point of wanting to give up sometimes, but there is no time where the window to being published is closed.

The only time you expire, and lose all chances of realizing your dreams, is when you stop trying.

It’s not like an Indiana Jones movie, where you triggered the trap and have to dive through the temple door before it closes and locks you in for all eternity. That door stays open until you let it close.

So get up, dust yourself off, and wipe that invisible expiration date off your forehead. Jump back in the trenches, and keep fighting and fighting and fighting. All it takes is one victory.

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26 thoughts on “Best Before: Yesterday

    • Thank you every much 🙂 Hey, it can be tough but it’s really not as bad as you think it is. And the writing community is so unbelievably supportive. Go for it! It’s cliche but you miss 100% of the chances you don’t take. Most famous authors had dozens of rejections, and they can definitely suck, but you also have to remember so much else goes into the publishing process and not all of it has to do with your writing. A no doesn’t mean you can’t write, it means not here but try over there. Each one is a sign pointing you closer 🙂 Best of luck!

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  1. I’ve been through similar feelings. More related to age than anything. I sometimes feel I’m too old (and I’m not even that old!), that I’ve wasted too much time. Good to know I’m not the only one with these thoughts/feelings. 🙂

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  2. This is exactly why I love your blog so much, Victoria 🙂 It’s like a pep talk and a hug and a cup of tea all at once. Thanks for this!!

    (And you’ll totally find the perfect agent some day, and be scrolling through old blog posts, find this one, and thing “Wow, I was SO right!”)

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  3. I keep reading great books and then research the author and they all say it took five years, two years -seven years to write. I’m using this as my excuse, so now I’m slapping my self on the wrist, as time moves fast and those two years are already gone.

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  4. I’m always stressed about that ‘expiration date’ you mentioned. Because I’ve started writing in my middle thirties and I write in a foreign language to my own (not to mention that my academic background is not related to literature), I feel I have to prove to myself (and through that, to others) that I can do it. That I’m doing the right thing. And that keeps making that clock you mentioned speed up with every passing day. Thanks for sharing this. At least I know I’m not on my own in this 🙂

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