Got my latest story rejection this morning. Consequently, I tweeted the following quip:
Rejections are like a gladiator’s scars. You need them to go on to your biggest killings.
The thing is I didn’t mean this to be just a trivial sound bite. I’ve always believed it to be true about writing, from day one.
When it comes down to it, my stack of rejection letters affirms two fundamental things about my writing. It means:
- I am trying
- I need to keep trying, only a little harder
Notice I didn’t say anything along the lines of: “I am failing” or “My writing stinks” or “Editors are idiots.” Instead, I view each rejection as measuring my forward progress. As long as they keep coming in, I keep moving ahead.
That means working harder, getting better, growing in my craft and improving my stories. That’s the path forward.
Oh sure, I’ve had moments of disappointment with some rejection letters, such as when I thought a story was an absolute perfect match with a particular market or editor. That, along with many factors regarding submission evaluation, is really beyond my control. I can control the fact that I keep writing stories and I keep polishing them to make them the finest I can deliver. Period.
Worry about what you can control. Don’t let the other control you. It’s the best a writer can hope for.
When I talk to people about my writing, it’s not uncommon for them to tell me they could never do it, often because of all the rejection they’ll experience. The thought really bothers them and turns them off. I usually smile at that point and talk proudly about my numerous battle scars.
With more to come, too. Ones that I plan to work hard to earn.