Rejection is part of a writer’s life. All serious writers have received rejections, and no matter how experienced you are or how many you’ve received, it always stings. I’ve had enough rejections over the course of the last 20 years that (assuming I’d kept them all and printed out all the email rejections), I could wallpaper my living room. And I have a pretty big living room.
I’ve developed a somewhat thick skin about it, which is necessary to do if you don’t have plans on hanging yourself. But every now and then, a writer may have a special project, something that she wrote from her soul, that if rejected, it breaks her heart.
I recently submitted an essay that was difficult for me to write because I had to reach back to painful memories and dredge them up again. In order to get my point across in this essay, I had to confront the demons that had plagued me for years and chewed away at my self-esteem. I’ve been working for years on kicking them to the curb, and to meet up with them again brought me to a dark place. But I wrote the essay, which actually has a positive message, and did my best to make it an interesting and well-written piece. It was both appropriate (I think) for the publication I submitted it to and relevant to current social situations.
Less than two weeks after I dropped it in the mail (yes, it had to be submitted the old-fashioned way, with STAMPS!), I received the rejection. It hurt on several levels, but what bothered me the most was that I was counting on this publication to break me into a certain niche, because it also happens to be about a subject that I’m passionate about.
Submit it to another market, you say? Not so easy in this case because the essay is an “off” subject and there aren’t many available markets.
So now I found myself with a rejection letter in my hand (I had to include a SASE in my submission—does that bring you back?), and I was ready to cry.
But I had to stop and remind myself that pieces get rejected for any number of reasons—or no reasons—that have nothing to do with the quality of your writing or you as a writer. There are a lot of good stories/novels/articles/etc. out there that my never see print, but that doesn’t mean they suck. Sometimes it just takes time to find the right home for them (Andi gave us a link on her FB page about famous rejections–check it out HERE).
I will resubmit my essay to the one other market I’m aware of and do some research to see if I can find any others. Ultimately, I may never place it, but having written it was a process of healing in itself and it may lead to something else.
This was a heart breaker rejection for me, but my heart still beats and as long as it does, I have to write.