rejections

Yes, I still get them. LOTS of them. Sniffle.

Tempest has suggested making today Post a Rejection Letter Day. I'm not getting into the kerfuffle that started this whole thing, but I think it's an interesting concept.

Unfortunately, I have no interesting rejection letters. I have some with suggestions and many with invitations to submit again - these are always encouraging.

It's funny. I have a short story that's been rejected several times. Rejected by one magazine for not having enough horror, by another for having too much horror, and by a third for being too "science fiction." I have a novel that was published, decried by some critics as not having enough sex, and lost an award for having too much.

I give up. I write what I write, and hope to find somebody with a press who likes it.

Rejections are a part of writing. I have to keep a spreadsheet to remember where I've subbed and been rejected, so I don't send the same piece to the same magazine twice. I also have a bulletin board in my office with postings of everything that's out right now and where it stands.

The key is to treat rejection as an opportunity. If there are suggestions offered, take a look at them and see if they might have a point. Unless a major rewrite is needed, let no more than a week go by before sending it back out. Yes, it stings - you had visions of that terrific story landing with a grade-A magazine and then it would get noticed by the big reviewers and you'd win awards and get a book contract and put a down payment on a house...

Well, I'd tell you to breathe deep and conk yourself with a bottle of Jack Daniels, you're clearly insane. But that little flight of fancy still happens every time I put a story in the mail (or email). It's that breath of hope that keeps us sending out the stuff, and it's one of the few compensations in a job that usually leads to heartache, poverty and carpal tunnel syndrome.

So you just go ahead and dream. When a rejection comes, take it for what it's worth. Then you turn it right back around. You never know, right?

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