Rejection

I have recently been conversing with writing friends on the topic of rejection. There is no way to get around it as a writer. If you send work out, you are bound to get rejection letters. Most are of the form letter variety, but once in a while an editor will write a nice note about your work or add helpful suggestions (that might be sugar coating it a bit) for editing the piece. While rejections in any form sting, there are positive ways of looking at the experience.

1. The more rejections you have, the more work you are sending out there. I attended a workshop with author and University of Michigan MFA faculty member Peter Ho Davies many years ago. He said his stories were rejected on average about 12 times before they were accepted. The more stories, poems, essays you get out there, the more you increase your chances that they will be accepted for publication.

2. I always like to evaluate a story after it is returned. If I receive critique from an editor, I try to look at it as a gift. Gifts can be taken or thrown away. If you don’t agree with the gift, or don’t like it, throw it away. It is your work after all. If there is a nugget of truth to the gift, don’t take it personal, play with what is being suggested. I like the word “play,” because that is what it feels like when I am working on stories.

Image

There is a ghost in my Gothic garden. This is what I spend my time doing when I am not working at the cart or writing.

3. I recently discovered that gardening and weeding and cleaning the yard are nice ways to work off any bad feelings associated with rejections and life, for that matter. It’s always good to step away and keep things in perspective. I could reiterate the stories of all kinds of famous writers who received harsh critique and rejection, but all you have to do is type something like “rejected authors” in Google and you’ll find plenty on your own. I figure they are like anyone else making a go at a writer’s life. They too must have felt the pangs of doubt creep in when those notes came in. What did they do about it? They kept going and going and going. They still keep going.

My mother used to tell me when I was running races, you are only as good as your last race. In other words, you keep going, keep trying, keep working to get better. That is really the best way to fight the doubt that comes with rejection.

Word of the Week-Quietude: Notes From the Rejection Front

My poetry has been labeled. Well, one of my poems has been labeled. Read the following comment from my most recent rejection:

It falls in the vein of what some might label \”school of quietude\”.

In some instances, as I mentioned in a previous post, having a personal note means something good, means that there was maybe a possibility that the poem or poems might have been chosen. This, however, is not one of those cases. How do I know? Well, “school of quietude” translates roughly, or not so roughly, from stuffy academic speak into plain English as “boring.” A simple “no, thank you” might have been easier to swallow. The other comments ranged from constructive, which I gratefully appreciated, to bordering on patronizing.

So, it hurt a little, but what I learned after reading the comments and going back to the site is that my poems really weren’t a good fit, and I’ll take the constructive criticism and use it when I look at the poems again, which I will do. I should have read that disconnect better, but that’s okay. 

I don’t hold it against them for not accepting the poems. They were right not to accept them, and they may be doing me a service by telling me one or all of them are a boring.  I could rehash the ongoing argument of whether poetry should be accessible or not, but each side has its opinions, and it really doesn’t help to keep jabbing back and forth. Highbrow venom passed as constructive remarks, however, is a different story.

Back to the drawing board.

Word of the Week – rejection

It happened this week. Well, it happened last week that I received another rejection. Yes, rejections are part of the writing game. The hard part about this one was I’d already received the rejection for the piece from that publication in July. I’m not exactly sure what happened. I didn’t send a note back saying, “Hey!! Thanks for telling me I suck–AGAIN!” There was no note from them saying, “Hey, we decided that your piece sucked enough to let you know one more time that we weren’t going to publish it.” No, there’s rarely ever a note beyond “Thank you and no”. Oh, well. Back to the drawing board, though I already was back at the drawing board after receiving the rejection in July.

It was probably some kind of oversight, but having the piece rejected once smarts. Having it rejected a second time from the same publisher without sending it a second time is twisting the knife and adding salt to the wound. I’ll live.

Short, sweet and to the point

I have two bead pieces listed in this month’s Etsy Beadweavers challenge. There is a crazy abundance of talent on the Etsy Beadweavers Street Team. Our theme was red. Each piece had to have some red. Just click on the the Etsy Beadweavers link to the right and you’ll find the blog and see the entries. Don’t be shy. Vote!

Other than that, my poems were rejected by Feile-Festa, an online publication that calls for Italian and Irish themed writing. Oh, well. It’s just part of how it all works. The note did say that they especially liked one of my poems, so it wasn’t a canned response. That’s a good sign. I always take these rejections as opportunities to look at my work with a bit of a new perspective. That’s after I’ve licked my wounds.