Rejection is usually hard to take. We writers live with rejection. It looms forever in the background of the budding artist. We are so full of hope. We feel so sure…this one is it. It will fly. This work is sooo good.
You go to bed after one last read, and you nod your approval. Yes, this story will be published. It’s just that good. You rise up the next morning. After a sobering night’s sleep, your read through your narrative one more time, and it is still good. You go to the Submittable page. You paste in your bio…of course they’ll need that, hahaha. You hit “SEND.” The waiting game begins.
One month, two months, three months go by. It’s okay. God, those guys are reading like 400 manuscripts a week. It’s tough. They haven’t gotten to mine yet.
Imagined Scenario: Senior Editor rushes into Associate Editor’s office waving your manuscript in the air (it has miraculously become hard copy). “We’ve got to publish this! Oh my God! I’ve never read anything this good.” Associate hangs up receiver. “I was just calling you! Yes, you have it. Quick, send that author a letter of acceptance. Email, Twitter, Blog, Telephone! Use every available avenue. This is great talent. We must nurture. From now on, every story this person writes, we will publish. Maybe a special edition!”
Back to Reality. Three months have passed. You go online to see if you paid the damned Discover bill. You were sure you had, but a crappy little notice came in the mail. Stupid credit cards. Your unread mail pops up, and there’s the lit mag to whom you had submitted your story three months ago. OMG! You aren’t ready for this. You don’t even have your coffee. The coffee maker is still sputtering out this morning’s first carafe. You nod bravely. You click the Bold Face Notice.
Dear person, Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately it does not meet our current needs. Managing Editor.
That’s it. Rejection. It’s over. No comment. No reason. No nothing. Total and absolute REJECTION.
Imagined Scenario. Literary Journal Office. Smart ass graduate student slumps at his work desk. He is the primary reader. He has a degree in Agriculture. He decides what goes to the Big Guy upstairs. He can hear him guffawing and choking on an Egg/Sausage with Double Cheese McMuffin as he blabs on the telephone. Graduate student is hungry. His girlfriend dumped him last night. He drank too much. He wants to be a writer, but has no time to write. He feels that his genius is yet to be recognized. He’s reading Dostoevsky’s CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. He scoffs at your on-screen submission. He starts first sentence. His cell phone rings. It’s his ex telling him to return her fucking key. He says something as rude and clicks off. He scrolls down to the fourth paragraph. He picks up his stale chocolate covered doughnut left over from the day before and munches. He wipes his hand on his pants. His cell phone rings again. It’s BOSS upstairs. He goes up. They complain about dearth of good writing. “It’s all crap,” boss says. He agrees because he wants to keep his job. Boss says he really likes a story he’s just read from a cute chick who lives in Ryazan. Rayazan? Where the crap is Rayazan? Story is about some boy’s ghost–he’s near death in some far off land. Blah, blah, blah. He nods and nods. Finally Boss dismisses him. He returns to your online story of which he’s read one half sentence. “What is this crap?” He mumbles. He scrolls to the end. He’s thinking about Googling Rayazan, but he doesn’t know how to spell it. He pulls up your email. “Thank you for your…” He says this aloud and with a laugh, hits DELETE.
Back to Reality. Okay. I need to rewrite. Those guys know what they want. I’ve got to work harder. Get the word count down. Tighten up. Work hard.
So there it is Bloggers. Rejection is difficult. I imagine all sorts of terrible things, but then, hey go back at it. Never stop. Never stop.
How do you deal with rejection? I’m curious. Do you take a nap? Have a drink? Do you cry? I’m talking about a story that you’ve been working on for months, years. It’s good. You know it’s good, but there’s the rejection. So how do you deal with that? Please let me know.