Swings & Misses II: The Rejection Streak
If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know rejections don’t generally bother me. I accept them as just part and parcel with the whole writing gig, a necessary aspect of improving at the craft. One writer friend even described my apparent immunity to the rejection blues as my writerly super power. (Why can’t it be some kind of spidey sense about which markets will accept my stories?) Well, damn it if I didn’t go and find my kryptonite. It’s not any one rejection or any specific type of rejection. It’s, uh, 27 rejections in a row.
Yes, friends, I have hit the longest rejection streak in my writing career. It doesn’t cover a large stretch of time, only a couple of months, but goddamn if it doesn’t feel like years. Despite the temptation to turn this post in to a woe-is-me affair, that’s not my style (or my brand), so I’m gonna engage my aforementioned anti-rejection super power and do these things instead.
- Send more submissions. I’m a firm believe in ABS. No, not anti-lock breaking systems (though, those are good too). I mean Always Be Submitting. Yep, I find one of the best cures for the rejection blues is to get those stories right back out there, especially if they’re getting “good” rejections, which leads me to my next point.
- Apply rejectomancy. As you know, rejectomancy is the arcane practice of trying to divine what a rejection means. It’s also the practice of staying objective about rejections. They’re not personal, they don’t (always) mean you’ve written a bad story, and sometimes they can tell you if a story has legs but just needs a different market. So, even though 27 is a lot of rejections, it includes a lot of good rejections: personal rejections and higher tier rejections from pro markets. In other words, it doesn’t hurt to look for the silver lining.
- Write more stuff. If your current batch of stories isn’t landing (for whatever reason), then get started on the next batch, hopefully after you’ve learned a few things from all the rejections you’ve received. Even if you feel like your current stories are fine and their forever homes are just around the corner, working on, and more importantly, finishing new material can be a nice confidence booster. Continuing to create when you’re dealing with a little adversity is a good skill to develop and maintain.
- Get a little help from my friends. Writing can be a lonely business, and it’s easy to feel isolated and alone when you’re dealing with a rough patch. That’s why I think it’s really important to surround yourself with supportive writer pals. There’s a couple of reasons for this. One, it’s always nice to get a little pep talk (or a much-needed kick in the ass) here and there from people who know you and your work. Two, it’s vitally important, in my opinion, to see that other writers are going through the same things you are. Now, I’m not talking about schadenfreude (being happy about someone else’s setbacks is a dick move). It’s about solidarity and understanding that rejection and maybe even the dreaded rejection streak is not unique to YOU. Lots of writers suffers through these things at some point.
That’s how I deal with the rejection blues: submit more, write more, apply rejectomancy, and get a little help from my friends. I have no doubt these practices will see me through to my next acceptance, at which point I’ll wonder why I was being such a whiner in the first place. 🙂
Until next time, stay positive and happy writing.