“I could write an entertaining novel about rejection slips, but I fear it would be overly long.”
If a successful author exists (or existed) who has not felt the sting of rejection then he or she is one lucky bastard. Everyone knows that successful writers are rejected again and again, right? It’s the ones who are persistent who make it through, who finally get that life-altering call telling them that something they have written will be shared with others, or even better, that they will be paid for having written it. This is such a well-known fact that if you Google “writer’s quotes on rejection” you are met with a list of websites on the subject, each containing lists of quotes from authors about the multitudes of rejection letters they collected before making it big.
While all of this may be true and all of this may be well-known by those who have hopes of becoming writers themselves, it certainly doesn’t make it hurt any less when you are told that the story you have poured your heart and soul into, ignored your children’s pleas to come play for, ordered pizza for dinner because you didn’t have time to cook for, ignored your spouse every evening when the kids are in bed for, is just not good enough to go into that journal. The pain of getting those letters in the rounds of stories and poems I sent out at the end of college were too much for me. I went into hiding. I dug myself in and hibernated. I stopped writing. What good was it if no one would ever get to read it? Why put so much into the work if it was all for naught? Why allow myself to be told I just wasn’t enough again and again?
But this last year I woke up, I dug myself out and I shook myself off and I wrote. Not only did I write, but I submitted. I found places I thought would be open to my work and wrote for them. I wrote for me. I wrote so that my children would see that dreams can come true. Maybe I put too much into it. I shouldn’t have opened myself to the hope that this time, this beautiful story that I spun into existence would be the one. This one would be the story that others just had to read, that would make them say, “we have to have this one!”
Alas, it was not my time. Maybe this isn’t the story, or maybe this isn’t the version of this story, that is the magical key. Maybe it needs more reads, more edits, more drafts, less words, more words, more imagery. I don’t know. Maybe I need to change in some way before I can write the story that will be accepted. But I know this–this time I’m not going away. I’m not letting rejection freeze my writer’s heart and put me into stasis. I’ll look at it again. I’ll tweak it. I’ll change it. I’ll pour a little bit more of my heart and a little bit more of my soul into the mix. I’ll open myself to hope once again and I’ll find a new place to submit. I’ll write a new story and submit that one too. After all, what other choice do I have?