Friday, January 4, 2013

Uplifting rejections


  A few days ago I received an uplifting rejection. The editor of a literary journal took the time to say that even though my story was not a good fit for their upcoming edition, she enjoyed reading it.  She said she was sure I would have no trouble finding a home for it and explained  that her selection had nothing to do with the quality of my writing. She ended the e-mail by encouraging me to submit again in the near future. 
   I thanked her for this personal e-mail.
   In 2013 I would like to stop submitting to literary magazines that treat writers like numbers. I don’t expect editors to praise my work, but perfunctory rejections tell me something negative about those journals, so, being a humanist at heart, I will strive to avoid them altogether. (I also get rejections from these magazines but I don’t think these will matter to you). It is also nice when an editor takes the time to give you some feedback, however brief it might be.
  Two months ago I had an interesting response after submitting another short story of mine to a magazine that is classified as “consumer magazine’ by the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. The editor wrote: “Your story is good but it is not what we are looking for.” Two days later another editor wrote to me to say that he had shortlisted this same story for an anthology. We'll see what happens with that one. 
  Acceptances and rejections are part of every writer’s life. We need to accept them and move on. In the meantime, let’s keep writing, rewriting, editing and submitting. I have new writing goals for 2013 and I feel excited about them. (I know I will have to work hard to attain them but I welcome the challenge).

If you have a hard time with rejections, read this post. I hope it will give you a different outlook on them.

 Ursula Le Guin’s quote resonates with my views on the writing journey:
“It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

14 comments:

  1. Sounds like your stories have merit. Just need to find the right place for them.

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  2. Thanks for your encouragement, Richard. Did you check the link I posted about rejections? It made me laugh out loud!

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  3. You're right about acceptances and rejections being part of any writer's life. Truth be told, they're part of the life of most professions. I think it's important to try to take positives out of the criticisms/rejections, which it certainly sounds like you're doing!

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    1. Thanks, Keith. Motivation is so important! Have a lovely weekend.

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  4. I agree with Optimistic, that it's just part of the writing life. Even the routine rejects. In all honesty, when I see all the writers out there in cyberspace and remember they are also submitting stuff, my sympathies are somewhat with the swamped editors who send out the routing reject. But a personal note can make my day! :-)

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    1. Hi Elizabeth. I also empathize with the editors. In fact, I've had the chance to be on the other side of the counter so to speak. I've tasted the throes of being an editor swamped with short stories, so I know it's not easy. Interestingly, I noticed that many writers I know from the cyberspace do not submit their stories to small presses and literary magazines. They just self-publish.

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  5. Hey Julia, as the old saying goes, I could wallpaper my office with rejection letters, but I will never stop trying.
    Your work will find a home.

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  6. Wishing you loads more writerly successes for 2013!! Yay! Your stories will find beautiful homes! Take care
    x

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    1. Thanks Old Kitty! I hope your stories will also find beautiful homes this year!

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  7. Sounds like you're on the right track. Good luck for 2013!

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  8. Good post, Julia! And yes, rejection is impossible to avoid for writers. Although, as in life, I think there are generally nicer ways to say no. I also - fairly recently - got a nice rejection that encouraged me to submit another piece. It actually felt good to be rejected. : ) I try to get things back out there pretty quickly, however, which makes me forget about the rejection even faster. Keep at it! And wishing you much writing success in 2013!!

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    1. Good point! I do the same, Kimberly. Thanks for commenting.

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