Rejection Thoughts

You aren’t really supposed to write about rejection – this kind of rejection anyway – because it seems a bit like whingeing, when people are getting rejected all over the world, all the time, and people with more natural talent than you have too. I’m talking about when you write something and submit it and it gets knocked back.
It’s not that hard to take actually. If you’re like me then you probably recognised some fault (or faults) in what you wrote and were just hoping that they perhaps wouldn’t be noticed or might be considered quirks or something, rather than serious discrepancies or weaknesses. A piece of writing which contains such problems shouldn’t be submitted, a bit like you shouldn’t donate second-hand clothes to a charity if they are in such a state of disrepair that you would not wear them yourself, but you have to stop somewhere when you’re editing and you have to give things a chance by submitting them, and perhaps there is no such thing as perfect anyway.
Certainly the waiting while a piece is being considered is enough to make a would-be writer think certain thoughts: the self-critical and doubting kind of thoughts – and the vacuum of information before the inevitable rejection is naturally filled by the imaginings you create in your own fevered little mind.
There’s nothing inevitable though. Not rejection or acceptance – as we are talking here about personal opinion and taste, and someone will respond, one day, to what you have written, and that may be because it is actually a lot better than other things you have written, and it may be that you have just found an appreciative audience of one.
If life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans, as John Lennon said, then it also seems to me that things happen when you don’t force them. This is not to say that nobody ever successfully achieved anything through being proactive and assertive. No, I mean that if you allow something to happen by creating the conditions where it is possible, then it will happen or not regardless of whether you fret and dwell and focus. And things happen, in my experience, when you are thinking about and doing something else – quite big changes occur in this way, in fact. So, and this is advice to me as much as anything, write your story, submit it, and do other things which do not include thinking about the submitted story at all. Possibly write so many stories and submit so many that you can’t keep good track of where they all are and it’s not possible to concentrate so hard on the fate of those stories.
And it will happen.
Things happen slowly for some of us.
And then you can write again about rejection, in the acceptable way, when you have become successful and you are writing about how it wasn’t easy and a lot of hard work over a period of years was required, sacrifices and so on, and how you were rejected six hundred times before the first breakthrough.
But by that time you may have lost touch with the struggling version of yourself, and the challenge is to not lose touch with that self: the one who did it because he loved it and dared to hope that it would all work out for the best one day.
And the last thing to note, otiose though perhaps it might seem, is that this kind of rejection hurts. A sting rather than a fracture, perhaps, but you do briefly suffer a setback, and the only way is to get up and go again. This is another acceptable way to discuss literary rejection – the self-help angle – and I must say that I’m not always in the mood to cheer up and get on with it when I take a hit, so I won’t add anything else on this topic here.

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Published in: on April 3, 2014 at 7:34 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It’s good to write, and I think it’s a topic that effects every author I’m afraid
    Arran

    • Thanks for your comment, Arran. So true. Unfortunately.

  2. Reblogged this on Confessions of a published author and commented:
    Rejection is never easy


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