I had a rejection yesterday, one which initially made me go ‘Ug, I’m just going to ignore this story for a bit, rejection sucks’. It’s a very natural reaction to hearing that someone doesn’t want your story. (note I did not say or think that this means my story sucks, or that I suck, just that rejection does).
And then I read the rejection again, and realized that the publisher was giving me an opportunity. One which I could either take up or not, one which either way did not matter to him but I realized mattered to me. This wasn’t about the story, or whether it got published or not, it was about the kind of writer I wanted to be.
Basically the rejection said something along the lines of ‘gonna have to pass on it for now. Over all it’s a good story but I think it still needs some work. If you want to take into consideration my comments, you’re welcome to resubmit.’
And I almost didn’t work on it.
I thought to myself ‘it will probably feel worse to be rejected a second time for the same story by the same publisher’.
And then I realized that wasn’t the point. The point was that I had an opportunity to define myself as a writer and the kind of writer I really want to be is one who TRIES. One who takes critique on board, listens to those in the editorial process and adapts herself to the situation.
So I reworked the story. I made changes along the lines of what he suggested. I cut about 600 words out of 4,300ish and I feel good about how the story looks right now. Even if it gets rejected again I’m happy, because I’m NOT the girl who gives up at the first sign of failure, and I am NOT the girl who lets a rejection get her down. I will resubmit it, but I have a different mind frame this time around.
If I am completely honest with myself (and I was in this process, it was part of the learning curve) this story was never one I wrote to get published. This is a somewhat self indulgent story in that it pays some homage to the horror stories I loved as a child and teenager. I wrote it for me, not for anyone else. Since publication was never it’s purpose I don’t really have a right to get upset when someone turns it down – I only submitted on the off chance that maybe it would make it. Right now, the story fulfills the needs I have of it: I enjoy it, and I feel good about having written it.
So, in the event it gets a second rejection, I don’t think I’ll be feeling glum at all. As a result of this rejection and the comments received the story is now tighter and I feel better about it. It was a great way to test my newfound belief that you have nothing to lose by getting rejected, and I am so pleased that it’s proven true! I feel like I have gained a lot – not only a stronger story, but a stronger idea about what kind of writer I want to be.