Saturday, August 27, 2011

On rejection (Or: I'm a real writer now)

There is something about rejection that makes you feel like a real writer.

I'm not sure what it is, but it's like there's something in that "Thanks, but no thanks" letter that bonds you to all the other thousands of writers out there, struggling to make it, trying to figure out how to get that story published or that article accepted.

(Ok, I can't really talk about articles, because I've had about a bazillion articles published by now. But I don't really care about the articles I've written because they all have boring titles like "HHS announces new ACA initiative" or "Brokers weigh individual mandate." BOR-ING.)

So back in March, when I was being lazy busy and couldn't blog, I submitted a short story to a magazine. I was pretty excited, even though I knew the competition was extremely stiff. I thought my story was pretty freakin' cute, and well-written, and it seemed in line with the other stories in the magazine.

A few days ago, my SASE came back in the mail.

(OK, let me stop here and say the SASE system is torture. First, I spent the six month period they tell you it will take to hear back wondering if my story even GOT there (yes, I realize now I could have bought shipping confirmation/tracking. But who has that kind of money to throw around?) Then, when you do get your SASE back, your rejection letter is addressed in your own handwriting.

It's just kind of depressing, is all.)

Anyway, so the letter came back, and it was fat. And I got really excited, because fat letters are usually good, right? 

Well, in this case, they were kind enough to return my story along with my form rejection.

Let me make this clear: I am totally NOT lamenting this rejection or blaming the magazine. I kind of loved the whole experience, actually: sending it out, waiting (OK, maybe that part I didn't like), hearing back. It was my first real professional writing experience (since I started taking this whole writing thing seriously, anyway), and it was amazing.

Now I just have to think of something creative to do with the letter. Stephen King hung his on a tack. A friend of mine suggested keeping a chart with a gold star for every rejection.

Do you have a creative/fun way to keep track of your rejections? 

(P.S. Thank you all so much for welcoming me back with such lovely open arms! I was kind of paranoid that everyone would be all "Who?" when I posted or not really care. But you didn't and that's awesome and I think you're pretty swell, too.)


  1. I don't have an interesting way to keep track of rejections, but it might be worth trying. Sort of like battle scars on the way to triumph!

  2. I agree. Rejection is part of writing! Sometimes it makes the victory even better after you've been rejected a few times.
    Unfortunately, I haven't sent out too much work. Just random poems I made up to a few magazines and that's about it. In other words, I haven't gotten many rejections, but only TWO poems published.

  3. I'm high fiving you over the rejection. Now that we have some "not a huge deal" rejections out of the way, we can be prepared for the bigger deal rejections that are inevitably looming.

  4. Shannon Hale kept all of her rejection letters and then had them laminated in one roll. When she goes to schools for author visits, she unrolls all of the letters. It's kind of cool and dramatic. :)


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