February was a bit rough. I received 4 rejections in one month, which is a lot considering I only submitted 4 stories so far this year. That’s a 100% rejection rate (for anyone keeping track, which is me and my submission spreadsheet).
And, truthfully, I was feeling pretty laissez-faire about it up until the last one. That was the one that hurt. That story got rejected, like, IMMEDIATELY. Like, I hadn’t realized that they’d started reading submissions yet, and already it was a NO. I can picture the person reading it, and by the time they reach half-way they’re already starting to crumple the sides of the paper, and at the last line they crush the whole story up into a tiny ball and chuck it into a wastebasket, never to think of it again.
As a person who likes what I write, sometimes it hurts to realize that other people don’t. This story is one that I care about, and yet nobody else does.
So I decided to take a break. From submitting – NOT writing. I will never give up writing. In fact, I will write more, get better, learn more, and keep up my craft. And when I feel more confident, I’ll start submitting again.
If you want to be a writer, you need to learn to deal with rejection. It’s a hard truth, but if being rejected makes you want to give up writing, then maybe you shouldn’t be a writer. Yes, getting your work rejected can sting, but if your ultimate take-away is that everything you write is terrible and you should just give up, then that’s not helpful. You can either vow never to put pen to paper ever again, or decide to keep working on it, no matter what.
Writing is subjective. Editors are usually looking for specific things, and (most of the time) you have no idea what that is. So you send out your stories and hope that someone will see what you see in it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
So the best thing to do is learn how to deal with a 'No'. Make it into a contest, wear it like a badge of honour, eat an entire box of cookies, or have a bit of a cry. Then move on and keep writing.
The world is filled with stories of people who were rejected many times before they were accepted.
You’re not alone.
*All opinions are my own, and (just like my writing) aren’t for everyone.
**Not only am I a writer, but I also trained as an actor, so perhaps I secretly love being rejected?