Rejection – Again and Again and Again
Being a writer is tough. I have to dive into my creative pool, which is usually very personal, and create something unique, interesting, and well written. I have to find the courage to say here is my piece of work that I’ve created with my blood, sweat, and tears please publish it. When I first started writing, I didn’t share with anyone but a few very close friends. People I knew were supportive even if the piece wasn’t good. I was lucky because these people encouraged me to try submitting my work for publishing.
Dredging up the courage, looking for the publications that would take my work, avoiding scams, this all seemed to be too much at first. Slowly I started putting my work out there. I got rejected – often. Each rejection felt like a fatal blow to my soul. My work, my writing babies, were just that my babies. Many times I thought I’m just not good enough and I shouldn’t try. Fortunately for me, I have really supportive people in my life. They kept telling me to keep trying.
I did. I tried and was rejected. I tried and was rejected a lot. I tried and succeeded in getting published! Great day! However, my rejections far outweigh my acceptance. I’ve had rejections that are short and sweet “thank you but no thank you” essentially. I’ve had rejections that tear you down and make you want to never write another word. Slowly though, I have been building up my credits.
I joined a writer’s online group that has editors and writers. This gave me insight into the publishing world. One of the editors on the group worked for a magazine. The first question I had when talking to this editor was how many places in your publication do you have to fill each month? The second question was how many submissions do you get? The answer to the first was about ten places. The answer to the second was hundreds and sometimes thousands. She’s a beautiful woman who was very encouraging. She reminded the writers in the group to keep trying because it wasn’t necessarily that the work wasn’t good enough but more that it might not have fit the theme that came out of all the submissions.
This encouragement really helped me to put in perspective some of the rejections I got. Still I found myself trying to get published through different places and always being rejected. Editors are swamped and don’t have time to say why. This means you are left guessing and often feeling dejected. Sometimes when I’m feeling down about my abilities I would get discouraged.
I’ve stopped hating rejections. I know that sounds crazy. Who likes to be rejected? I’ve taken the attitude that when I open my email or the letter it will in all likelihood say no thank you. I’m not being negative. I’m being realistic. Publishing is a business and they have a job to do. It isn’t personal. There is a specific reason I can take this attitude and not feel defeated any more.
My light-bulb moment came unexpectedly and from a source I never would have expected. My daughter and I DVR talk shows. I like them but am often bored by some of the guests or topics they cover. We were recording the Talk and watching. Kathy Ireland. She’s not someone I really know that much about or was all that interested in. Something about the clips for the show had me watching the interview instead of fast forwarding through it. I can’t remember why now but while watching she said “If you’re not being rejected regularly, maybe you’re not trying hard enough.”
This really stuck with me. Every time I get a rejection and I start to feel down, I go back to this statement. In writing, you won’t be successful all the time. You will be lucky to be successful about ten percent of the time. I know this. I’ve read a lot of articles, done workshops, taken classes, and been warned. The thing is I am not going to stop writing even if nothing I write ever gets published. I will write until I can’t sit at the computer to type, I will write until I can’t see the page or hold the pen. I will write until I can’t say the words to go in a story, poem, or article. I’ll always write. If I’m not getting rejected two or three times a week, I’m not trying hard enough to get my story, my thoughts, my words out there. Ultimately, that is what I want – to be heard.
Since hearing that quote, I’ve completely changed my attitude. Now I look for the emails and letters. I’m only disappointed when I’m not getting regular responses because that means I’m not taking advantage of the opportunities available. I look at each rejection as an attempt to succeed, as a moment where I at least tried to be published. No one likes to be told no. I don’t but I’d rather be told no than to have not asked to be published at all.
This quote, a dozen simple words, inspired me to return to get a second bachelor’s degree. I’m working on an English writing degree that will make me a better writer and editor. This quote changed my attitude and helped me come to terms with a huge aspect of being a writer – the nearly constant flow of rejection. It helped put rejection into perspective for me and helps me not take them to heart when I get them. It reminds me to try again and again and again and keep trying no matter what.