I knew getting into the writing game was going to be full of rejection. My high school creative writing teacher told me. My college fiction writing professors told me. My grad school novel writing professor told me. But it doesn’t seem to stick when someone else tells you how terrible the writing world can be. You have to experience it for yourself.
And boy, have I been experiencing it. For pretty much the whole month of May, I couldn’t go 24 hours without a rejection in my inbox. I know that in most cases, journals get a lot of submissions, and only a small percentage get accepted. But the law of averages should’ve kicked in and I should’ve gotten some acceptances too! June got a little better, and by better I mean I only got like 3 rejections for the whole month. Then, on the last Sunday of June, I got an acceptance letter. And it was good.
(I have a piece that will be published in 99 Pine Street coming this October!)
So, how have I been dealing with rejection? Well, like all writers, I’m watching my Submittable account, as the status of my pieces goes from “Received” to “In-Progress.” And when I wake up in the morning and see the notification email that one of my pieces has been rejected, I update my Duotrope submissions tracker and dutifully put the notification in the rejection email folder with all the others. Stephen King saved his by hanging them on a nail in his office, but it’s 2015 so an email folder will have to suffice.
I can say that the rejections have gotten easier. I’ve never really taken them personally, but it’s hard to keep hearing the word no. Some days it feels like caffeine and disappointment are surging through my veins in equal parts, and that my free time would be better spent watching Peaky Blinders for the fifth time instead of writing a new short story or editing the billion stories I already have on my hard drive. But typically, after watching 2 episodes of Peaky Blinders, I’m ready to get back to writing. And while rejection sucks, it’s a million times better than never trying.
Seriously, hiding notebooks full of your writing in the back of your closet is so high school.
Oh. And I guess it’s sort of a thing I do now. Here’s a shelf of notebooks in my closet. I call it “The Warehouse.”