Writer Superstitions

I can’t be the only writer who has developed superstitions over the course of their writing career.  Can I?  I mean, don’t most writers have that lucky pen, or lucky socks, or throw salt after submitting or some other smashed up superstition that leaks into their lives?

I’m not a superstitious person.  I believe that everything happens for a reason — not that if I use my lucky pen, my story will get accepted.

Yet, somehow, I’ve still managed to develop a superstition or two when it comes to my writing.  These are practices or things that have slipped into my attitude and my actions, despite my knowing clearly, logically, that they have no effect on the outcome of a submission.

But enough of the vague words.  Let’s get down to business here.


Writing Superstition #1

If a story has been held by a particular publisher for longer than their usual response time, I must not query.  No matter how many days pass, or how long outside the normal response window I am.  Why?  Because query = rejection.  It’s happened to me a lot.  I send a query.  I get an almost instant rejection.  Like, “oh, you’re bugging us? Well, then, rejection for you! *slap*”

I know that’s not really how it works.  Or…at least, I really hope publishers are more patient than that. On the rare, rare occasion that I do query, I always wait until long past the time they say to wait in their guidelines.  Still, the response is almost always the same.


Writing Superstition #2

I use Duotrope.  A lot.  I stalk the response statistics daily to see what markets have sent responses recently, when a market is likely to reject me by, etc.  So if a particular publisher has had my story for, let’s say, 45 days…and they normally reject and have continued to reject stories at around 10 days, my mind logically (debatable, that word) concludes that the publisher is most likely holding my story and considering it further.

Suspecting a publisher is holding my story and considering it further is an exciting and scary moment.  The longer they hold it, the more excited I get.  Naturally, I sometimes want to tell my husband or other writers that I think I might get good news from them soon.

No.  That’s-a-bad! (As we tell our cat, Ripley, when she scratches furniture).

Almost every single time I say I think I might get an acceptance, I don’t.  This goes for contests, too.  I see rejection after rejection sent out, and still no response for me.  My hopes get high and what-do-you-know, I tell someone.  Bam.  Rejection.

So I keep hushed now.  For fears of scaring the nervous little acceptances away.


Anyway, enough of my odd rambling.  What about you, fellow writers?  Have any superstitions to share?  To be clear, I don’t judge people who really do have lucky pens or socks or whatnot and believe in that sort of thing. 🙂 So come, tell me what superstitions you face as you write and submit.



4 thoughts on “Writer Superstitions

  1. Like you, I rarely query about anything. Every time I have, I’ve been “slapped” with that rejection note as well.

    I also stalk the Duotrope stats, watch rejections and acceptances fly all around me, but when that happens, I’ve come to the conclusion that a piece being held means they like it, just not enough to accept it (as they clearly did others) on the spot. I always figure those will be rejections as my story has been relegated to the “maybe” pile. 98% of the time, a rejection comes at the very end of their usual response time.

    I also don’t talk about my submissions a lot. I will share that I’ve subbed to this market or that market, but yeah, other than that, I don’t talk about it. Jinxing myself is the worst! It’s like being sick “Yeah, I have a fever, but if I don’t acknowledge the flu, I don’t really have the flu” sort of thing.

  2. I ran over a cute little bunny rabbit one night when the poor guy ran out onto the interstate in front of me, then half an hour later had a rejection for a story the editor had personally requested. There’s definitely a karmic connection there. So now I try to be extra cautious if I know (based on Duotrope stats) I should be getting a response soon.

    1. Aww! That’s sad enough that the bunny died, adding the rejection on top is just miserable. Thanks for commenting — I’ve never ran an animal over before *knocks on wood*, but I’ll make extra special sure I don’t now! (If possible, those little buggers are devious and crazy!)

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