Okay, I don’t really love rejections. I just said that to get your attention. I love acceptances, like everybody else, but in the world of writing they are few and far between. The great thing about rejections however is they show that you are trying.
If you aren’t trying, then you are never going to learn how to get better. If you aren’t putting your work out there, then you won’t get any feedback. Your growth as a writer will be sluggish and lonely.
When I see I have a response in my inbox for a story I’ve sent out, I tell myself it’s probably a rejection but even still my heart accelerates and a little ‘what if?’ whispers in my ear. I open it and ten times out of ten, it’s a rejection.
Now, if it’s a form rejection I feel the disappointment more keenly. But a personal rejection? Well that to me is cause for celebration, and the same goes for a rewrite request or a few paragraphs telling me that my story made it to the semi finals but was voted out for X reason in the editorial meeting. I now have this little image of editors holding their chosen stories out as weapons in a gladiator fight. My stories always have an Achilles heel that lets them down.
I keep going though. This year I had success with two stories, one got published and the other didn’t make it to print because the magazine shut down due to financial problems. This has actually happened a several times in the eight years I’ve been sending pieces out.
I’ve learned a few things along the way already and I know I will learn even more as I go on. I know, for example, how important it is to read a copy or two of the magazine you are submitting to. That’s truly the only way you are going to know if your story fits there. Sometimes you can work that the other way around. I am fond of a few magazines and recently I have started writing stories with them in mind. Not in such a way that I quell my creativity or mimic a voice I read there. It’s more that I focus on a particular theme or challenge myself to write a character I would not normally choose to write.
Rejections are filling up the ‘Writing’ inbox of my email account. I keep every one of them, and look back often for advice I was given, and praise as well. In many ways they measure my growth. I started out getting a ton of form rejections and now I get mostly personal rejections.
So what about you fellow writers? Tell me in the comments section what your relationship with rejection is like?