Rejection is a part of this crazy writing business. I don’t need to tell anyone who has submitted anything to anyone that. What supposedly separates successful writers from those who never make it–besides being able to, uh, write–is persistence. That whole, getting up and dusting yourself off thing. This, my dear readers, is not something I’m very good at.
Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not a delicate butterfly. I can take criticism, relish it, even. For a few months I will be such a go-getter about my writing career. Rejections will pour in, but it doesn’t phase me. “A rejection, you say? Onto the next market!” I celebrate rejections almost as much as the rare acceptance.
After three rejections on a single story, I’ll take a look at it again just to make sure there’s nothing glaringly wrong. If an editor has provided feedback, I’ll take that into consideration. Maybe I’ll even do a rewrite. Then that story is sent back out to the great beyond of slush piles.
I can manage this gusto for are of submission for a few months before something awful happens: I get tired.
I know it’s such a sad pitiful excuse. But you see, rejections tend to have a cumulative effect. One, two or three rejections don’t bother me. But when every single thing I’m sending out is coming back with the proverbial big red “NO” on it, it’s easy to step back and wonder why the heck you’re doing this. But more than the feeling of being rejected, it’s the act of submitted over and over that gets tiring.
And then life gets in the way. Or rather, I let it get in the way. I’ll feel guilty at first, but I’ll get so used to writing and not submitting that the act of non-writing becomes the rule rather than the exception. Suddenly, I don’t feel so guilty anymore.
I wish I had the solution to putting an end to this dreaded cycle, but I’ve yet to find it. In the meantime, I’ve submitted four of my short stories once more after giving each a good once over. Some are flash some are standard shorts, and all are delightfully speculative. Hopefully, they will find dear, nurturing homes that accept their absurdity.
And I guess it’s about time I wrote something new, huh?
How do you keep submitting (and submitting and submitting) even when nothing sticks? What motivates you? I’d love to hear your suggestions. Or, you know, you can always yell at me. That works, too.