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Rejection… A Writer’s Tale

Posted in Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2009 by stanleyriiks

Rejection is a hideous thing to deal with. For writers we have to deal with it regularly, unless we’re lucky. Stephen King used to collect rejection letters by the hundred, he used to stick them to the wall on a spike.

I find it difficult to take pleasure in my rejection. It doesn’t inspire me to do better. It feels like it’s another nail in the coffin. And what’s being buried, apart from my self-esteem, is my dream of becoming a writer.

On a forum a group of writers discussed how they dealt with rejection letters. In the old days, when paper was required and emails were yet to be invented, people set light to them, or kept scrap books, or stuck them on a spike on the wall. Modern technology has denied us these pleasures.

Email rejection letters I file. There’s something a lot less satisfying about filing an email than burning an actual rejection letter.

But what gets me is the lack of imagination, the lack of understanding that many editors have. “Thanks but we can’t use this.” “Not for us, thanks anyway.” “We’ll pass.” Yes, because passing is not really rejecting, is it! The euphemisms for rejection are just as bad. It’s like the editors get out their thesauruses, they’ve probably got that page marked, reject, decline, deny, discard, repel, scrap, renounce… pass!

It’s hard enough that I’ve created my masterpiece and put my heart and soul into it, then rewritten it, and possibly rewritten it again and then formatted it all nice and neat, and sent my¬†work off into the dark wilderness of the slush-pile.

And then I wait and wait.

I know editors have a hard time, some of them read hundreds of submissions a week. Most of which are probably rubbish. But please! Give us a chance. A standard rejection letter is absolutely no help. I know, I know. Hundreds of submissions. But if there is anything I can do to improve my story, oh wise editor, let me know. Knowledge is power, sure enough, but how about sharing some of that knowledge? A hint here, a tip there. It can go a long way. Help me please!