David Dickerson writes greeting cards. Specifically, greeting cards for awkward situations, like the wedding of your former fiancee or a birthday that falls on September 11th. In his memoir, House of Cards, Dickerson talks about why he turned away from the “traditional” path of a writer, and toward the Hallmark aisle instead.
But even in writing stories for money, the way I was told to go about it was to submit to small nonpaying literary magazines, then get enough published that you could get a story collection with a small press, and then — on the basis of that or of whatever small-press novel came next — get a teaching job at some obscure college no one much cared for. Yet even this simple plan seemed impossible. I could barely manage to submit ten copies of a story and send them off to various magazines (writing a different cover letter every time, making sure you got the editor’s name right, including the SASE that was properly weighted, etc.). Just thinking about it made my limbs heavy, and my brain gasped for anything more exciting to occupy it. Mailing off stories involved actual suffering. And for what? For ten rejections to trickle in over the next nine months. And even if I made it (I’d succeeded once in the six mass mailings I’d managed to shoulder through), you got no money and no one noticed you were in this stupid magazine that only other MFA students had ever heard of. You were supposed to do years of this. I could barely handle it for two hours.
Uh, yeah, I HEAR THAT.
And yet I’m sticking with it. I must be insane.