Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rejection. There's no game without it.

I was rejected recently by a publication which until now has accepted everything I’ve submitted. That it happened two weeks before I plan to submit a novel to at least a hundred agents in NYC is coincidental. But timing feels like fate. I’ve silenced it, I’ve sent it back to its corner, but that insidious little voice has crept into my forehead more than once to say, “See? I told you.”

Certain uncomfortable truths emerge in the course of writing and submitting even as they argue with each other. Here are two: Some writers publish, but all writers get rejected. And, all writers (even bad ones) get better with more writing. We need both. We need to know we’re as wonderful as our mothers said we were, and we need to get over ourselves once that happens. Acceptance is the bouncer at the door taking a quick look and waving you on. Rejection, at least in the first few hours of its life, is the person at the party glancing past your ear for someone more interesting to talk to.

And here is the third truth: if it doesn’t collapse a writer’s hopes altogether, rejection fuels improvement. Rejection separates the hopeful from the Serious.

So there are two ways to handle rejection. One is to respect the opinion of that insidious little voice and feel that at least you’ve smartened up before wasting any more time. The other is pick up that insidious little voice and flush it down the toilet like a daddy long legs.

Two weeks.
A hundred agents.
There will be rejection.

Game on.


  1. I look forward to future posts, but could you please include a firetrucking long one now and then, for those of us who love the way you put words together?