Today I received my own rejection for the story I submitted to the HAUNTED LEGENDS anthology. I'm extremely disappointed, but not with the editors or with the form of the rejection -- for some very good reasons. First, I know Ellen wasn't too keen on open subs. (Let's not send her the message that having one this time was a mistake. I know that rejections don't exactly make a writer's day -- in fact, they flat out flatten me -- but they are not much fun for editors, either. I've had a chance to experience both sides of the rejection notice: I edited an anthology last year and had to reject a couple hundred stories. It was the hardest part of the process. After I sent out many personalized rejections, I quickly realized I didn't have the time (or emotional stamina) to state the reasoning behind (and defend) each rejection. Sometimes my reasons were a bit abstract, and explaining my choices would have taken too many words; sometimes I simply couldn't bring myself to say "this sucks!" (And as a writer, I hope I never have to hear those words.)
I felt the letter did what it needed: it gave the writer 4 general explanations for the rejection, it spared the editors unnecessary grief, and let the writer down as gently as possible.
Be sure and send your story out again. We knew from the beginning the competition for this one would be rough. The sheer number of subs instantly puts the editors at disadvantage: "wow, we have space for 3 or 4 more stories, but we received dozens of good tales." Hence, fabulous stories like yours and mine didn't get a seat on this bus. But take heart, I see another bus rounding the corner. It will take us where we want to go. ;-)
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From The Resilient Writer by Catherine Wald: Janet Fitch... says, "Rejection plays an overwhelming role in your career as a writer." She emphatically tells her writing students that they can’t consider themselves writers until they’ve received at least one hundred rejection slips. She also tells beginning writers that you can’t get crushed by just a handful of rejections because "that’s a lot of what being a writer is."
Wesley Brown says that rejection is a persistent experience for writers. He calls it "an integral part of any creative endeavor." But, he adds, just because you accept that rejection is part of the process doesn’t mean you have to agree with the rejections or take them to heart.
What’s the key to getting past rejection? For Elizabeth Benedict, it’s understanding that the publishing business is just that – a business. "What you’re trying to do is interest a businessperson in your writing, and the businessperson has to decide whether this is the right article, book or short story for his or her publication." She adds that it’s important to remember that rejection is "not necessarily a definitive comment on you or your talent."
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Desiderata a la Joanna:
... Write. Especially, do not coddle submissions.
Neither be cynical about editors;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
pithiness is as perennial as the grass. ;)
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I love LJ, and the people on my f-list. Such warm people. Lucky me. *hugs* Thank you for being there in my OW moment (and it WAS but a moment. I now doubt I'm equipped with enough bodily chemicals for wallowing in non-happiness/contentment/squee-worthy things). ^_^ Allenpot, you should move here NOW.
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It was a kare-kare day today. And inihaw na tilapia (grilled milkfish). And tokwa't baboy (tofu and pork). And Bicol Express. And maja blanca (coconut cake/white pudding/Filipino version of corn bread). And minatamis na saging (candied bananas).
Also was a Stardust and Alvin and the Chipmunks (again) day with the cousins. As well as eyebrow-trimming day with that pregnancy-test-look-alike gadget with the of-age girl cousins.
Went to church with tummy distended.
Laughed with HIM when I saw one of his cousins? friends? take his hand and make the mano (Filipino token of respect, wherein we take the hand of our elders, or priests/nuns to our forehead. Sprung from 'beso las manos' of the Spanish, where they kiss the hand). Hee. He slapped the girl playfully with his white handkerchief.
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Oh, and accidentally sat on Josh's you-know-what. Poor boy. We were both of us riding behind Dad on the motorcycle. And Dad didn't slow down enough over this huge hump on the street. We all bounced. And... Josh emitted a short howl. LOL.