14 March 2011

Rejection Collection


It is beginning to look like winter is finally loosening his stranglehold here in Southern Ontario. We're hovering around zero degrees centigrade right now, but I'm seeing double digits for later in the week. It's sunny and bright today, and that insane week of overcast, crappy weather we just had is finally over. I am happy to see the sun, but inside I'm feeling like I've been worked over by fifty angry chimpanzees wielding bags of gravel.

What, weather? Affect my mood? Why do you ask?

Also, right now that spate of submissions I managed to get out over the last six weeks is starting to bear fruit: the stinky, rotten fruit of rejection. This is nothing to be upset about (I tell myself earnestly): it's par for the course and a direct result of all those lovely submissions I made. Logically, this is true. Emotionally, I take rejection in all sorts of ways. If I'm on top of my game, it's a shoulder shrug and a figuring out where else I'm going to submit that piece. If I'm feeling like I've recently been worked over by fifty angry chimpanzees wielding bags of gravel, it can range from kind of frustrating to downright depressing. Today I'm on the hunt for a couple of pro markets for orphan short stories, but I'm also looking for inspiration. Here are some nice articles on submitting like a maniac and why rejections are a good thing:

Alex Keegan on rejection: "I eat rejections like Popeye eats spinach. You can too." An oldie but a goodie.

Milo James Fowler offers some wisdom from Mr. Bradbury on fighting the good submission fight.

Children's writer Ellen Jackson writes about the relationship between rejection and opinion: "Stories are like people - imperfect and flawed. If your work is competent, some readers [and editors] will hate it, some will like it.

On the flipside, Creative A over at Headdesk makes some excellent points about the dangerous nature of praise and the need for writers to stay objective.

I hope you all are submitting like maniacs and adding to your own rejection collections, not to mention picking up the occasional or not-so-occasional publication.


Bluestocking said...

Rejections are a necessary evil. Glad you are taking things in stride and subbing some more!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

If this makes you feel any better, I would never reject you. But I'm also a powerless mediocre middle-aged man that appreciates a shot of tequila.

Annie Neugebauer said...

I'm right there with you. It's always hard to start getting no's on a project that took you a while to send out. A yes every once in a while is well worth it, though. Don't give up!

Kari Marie said...

N comes before Y in the alphabet, you are just workin' your way through the alphabet. Pretty soon you'll be at R for request a full and then it's a short trip to Yes!

Anonymous said...

In the words of Mr. Bradbury: "You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance." I think rejections force me to be a better writer, whereas acceptances can mislead me into thinking I'm good enough. I'm pretty sure I'll NEVER be a good enough writer -- or anything else. I can always improve my craft.

Deborah Walker said...

Yay for rejections. All they mean is that you're doing your job. I got five the other day -- in one day.

I force myself to ignore them, and concentrate on the other side. How many sub have I made today? Two. Not bad.

Summer Ross said...

Yup I'm working on it. Great post. Have a terrific day!

Elizabeth Twist said...

@Bluestocking: thank you. It helps to know I'm a part of an awesome community.

@Michael: It does make me feel better. Now pass the tequila!

@Annie: We can only try, and try again.

@Kari Marie: I love your alphabetical philosophy. I'm subbing short stories right now, so it's a yes/no proposition, but I will definitely bear this in mind when I start trying to publish a novel.

@Milo James: Agreed! Constant improvement is what keeps us fresh, young and so so savvy.

@Deborah: Your five beats my two-in-one-day. I'll let you know when I've topped that.

@Summer: All strength to you.

@Lucy: I can't wait to hear good news from you. Keep going!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Rejections hurt. You die a little. But often they say more about the shaky health of the publishing industry than the quality of your writing. You just hit a dry well in a thirsty land. Keep on knocking on doors -- that is the only way one will finally open up.

Coreene Callahan said...

Rejections are hard. It never seems to get easier, but I think of it like this.....every NO is one step closer the YES I need.

Ellie Garratt said...

Ah...rejections. I love them so much. Not. Unfortunately, they are part of the writing life and I guess we have to not let them get us down.

Unknown said...

"I eat rejections like Popeye eats spinach."

I like that!

PS. I have yet to be rejected because I have yet to finish a manuscript... But once I've been rejected for the first time then I'll know I've finally "arrived" :-)

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Hey thanks for mentioning me in a comment on Roguemutt's blog. Yeah we got to going on any number of theories and you are right...there's no proof. Just ideas of how the whole process works. One of the things that I do in my day job is to break things down to see how they work in order to find solutions. For example, I went into a client's home and his voice activated phone wasn't working. I listened to the interference on the line and then realized it had to do with dsl filters not being properly installed. It's just natural I think for me to break down publishing the same way. I analyze what's going on behind the scenes so what I posted on mutt's blog is what I came up with. Anyways, it's good to have conversations like that with writers such as you and mutt. :))

Elizabeth Twist said...

Hey Michael: you're welcome. I wasn't trying to be snarky or sarcastic, just trying to express that I find the whole process mysterious. Whether it's an octopus and a mystical tiger or an agent's assistant who's been browbeaten out of her own personal sense of taste and decency, it's all mixed up and nuts to me.

With regard to things we can control: I agree 100% about your points re: charisma. It is definitely the magic ingredient no matter where you go. The good thing is that charisma isn't always about being a chiseled Nordic type hetero dude (thank God, or I would be truly screwed and would also hate everything and everyone). I am banking on the fact that book charisma is different from Hollywood charisma. Surely there is a market out there somewhere for each of us.

Ciara said...

Rejections are part of the process. Just a stepping stone to publishing. :)

Witless Exposition said...

Even though rejections are hard, I'm glad you're putting yourself out there. One of the easiest things to do as a writer is to squirrel away our work.

Here's to getting a rebound soon!

PS-I'm stealing your chimpanzee line for the next time we have a week of dreary weather.