So, I got another rejection email today…
…You’d think after a consistent 10 years or so of rejections I would have gotten used to it by now.
I wonder if it is because, every time mind you, I get my hopes up?
I am told, by other writers – I also read it in numerous interviews, articles, and books on writing – that a writer needs to develop a thick skin.
Okay. I’m sold. Now, how?
One of the nagging problems with rejection, as some of you who experience it in any field of art will know, is that mostly there is no feedback for why something you’ve created has been rejected.
(I’ve had some positive and personalized rejections in the last two years. Nice as they were, they were still rejections.)
Mostly what I, and just about every other writer, get is form rejections.
Which are the bane of my existence.
Nothing like trying to get better at your craft – good enough to be published and start making money from it – and not having even the vaguest idea of what or why, in this case a short story, was rejected.
(Just so you know, I realize that – given the nature of publishing – it would be impossible for any editor to send feedback with every rejection. I’ve come to grips with that. Nature of the beast, as it were.)
I’ve taken classes in fiction writing; mainly to have an excuse to write something other than academic essays throughout my college career. I didn’t think I would learn much from them. Turns out, I did. Bonus.
So, as for content and characterization, and stakes, and internal consistency and verisimilitude, and a host of other aspects of writing – plotting, suspense, ad nauseam ad infinitum – I have a grasp of the mechanics and how to hide the working parts.
(That was a long way of saying, even though I’m not getting paid, I’m really not a green-horn amateur at this thing. Writing is my passion and my craft. I work, continuously, to get better at it.)
Maybe it is my most recent bout of depression that makes this rejection hard. Maybe it’s that I’ve run out of places to send this story, and this last rejection feels too final for something that still feels so very alive to me. Maybe it’s just that Mondays are terrible days to receive rejection letters.
Anyways, it’s put me in a deeper hole.
I’m not here looking for sympathy. But I haven’t posted in a while, and this was the only thing I could think coherently about today.
Rejection doesn’t make me want to stop. I doubt anything could. But it makes it that much harder to move forward today.
When I was a regularly performing poet, I met a good number of my fellow poets who believed their creativity sprang from their depression.
Not me. Depression just gets in my fucking way.
So, maybe I won’t write any new fiction today. Maybe I’ll just read a book and watch some TV and try to forget that Mondays are a terrible day to receive rejection letters.
And I’ll go to sleep.
And get up tomorrow.
And tomorrow will be Tuesday.
And Monday can go fuck itself.
Hang in there. I know rejection letters sucks, but those form letters don’t mean much, really. More often than not, all a form rejection means is the story wasn’t a fit for that market. That’s it. It rarely means “bad story” or “bad writer.”
I always think about this way: nearly every story I’ve published has been rejected, often multiple times (hell, one was rejected thirteen times before it sold), but that didn’t mean it was a bad story or that I’m a bad writer (probably ;)). What it meant was that I hadn’t gotten the story in front of the right editor. When I did that, it was published. So keep looking for that right market and that right editor. They’re out there; I promise.