The Bitter Sting Returns.

Two more rejections this morning. Christ, this writing this is becoming more and more tedious as time goes on. I’m not going to lie, I’m getting more and more discourage. I’ve heard people compare sending work out for publishing, or representation to sending out job applications. You can make that comparison, sure. Both have a fairly low success rates, and both have the potential to be disappointing or joyous. However, and this sort of depends on the job, there is one distinct difference. When sending out your own work for consideration, it is being judged on your talent. When you apply to a job, you’re competing mainly over experience. When you’re told you didn’t get an interview, it usually reads Thank you for you application, however we have decided to choose somebody who meets the level of experience. Fair enough, the gig when to a fella or lady who had 5 years on me. But when you get the rejection letter sent to you, it reads literally this(Copied from one this morning):

Dear Casey Chaplin,

Thank you for giving the editorial board at Arc a chance to read your poetry. Unfortunately, we will not be accepting this work for publication.

Due to the voluntary nature of this board and the sheer volume of unsolicited submissions we receive each year, we are unable to provide a detailed critique for you at this time.

Why did I get this? Obviously because what I submitted wasn’t good enough. It has nothing to do with experience, or any level of education. There no basis on a rejection other than the work isn’t good enough. Either that or it’s just, we have too many to read, we’re lazy, and we don’t know you’re name. So we can’t provide you feedback because, well, we didn’t actually read it. Which seems like sort of a big fuck you. So, I feel that is biggest difference between not getting a job, and not getting accepted. The word accepted is the key there. Anyway, I’ve touched on this in a previous blog post, so I won’t ramble on any longer,  but I think coming back to it was important.

Every rejection stings a bit more. Unfortunately I can’t say what it feels like to have a piece accepted, and the hurt you must feel after being rejected the first time after having something accepted. Convoluted sentence for the win? Anyway, the point of the matter is, besides publishing my own book, I haven’t had much success in the field of having works accepted. It’s a feeling I’m sure many writers out there experience, and I don’t think it ever gets easier. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve sent out from poetry to short stories, to novels, only to have that “thanks but no thanks” letter sent back with absolutely no feedback. Those who read my last post on this topic will know my particular annoyance at this system.

I may have mentioned in the past as well that I’ve recently completed a second novel, but at this point it’s very difficult to shake the feeling of what’s the point? And what I mean by that is, what’s the point in going through the editing process, the query letters, and submission protocol only for it to be rejected. It’s really hard to find that motivation, and it’s a constant fight within my own stupid brain between the dos and don’ts. And it’s also a huge fight between acceptance in general.

Allow me to elaborate on that; I’ve said a few times that I write for me, and nobody else. Some people write for others, and that’s what works for them. There is no right or wrong way, however, when I write, and I appreciate it and enjoy what I’ve done, there’s a certain satisfaction to it. But I’d be lying if a part of me didn’t long for the acceptance of a peer or two. It’s great to hear that friends or family enjoys your work, but I think they have to. It’s their job to be supportive, even if they don’t like it, most people who care about you won’t tear you down, even if they don’t like your stuff. That’s the job of a publisher, to rip your soul from your being an tell you to be better without any feedback. READ OUR SUPERIOR MINDS LOWLY BEING!  they say from their high horses.

Sorry, I might be a bit bitter this morning. Back to the point at hand. It’s incredibly difficult to find the motivation to keep going; to do what you love when you’re constantly being told you’re not good enough. It’s not easy to keep going, especially when you’re somebody like me who is surrounded by successful authors. Maybe running a site that focuses on interviewing authors wasn’t a great idea… Nah, I love it still. But when it comes to my own personal writing, I want to work harder and get better – I just have no idea how.

3 Replies to “The Bitter Sting Returns.”

  1. Yep, rejection stings, no doubt, but it does get easier. The first thing that helps is the realization that rejection letters are not personal (as hard as that is) and are not always a value judgment of your work. Stories/poems/books get rejected for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with the author’s talent. Maybe the poem wasn’t quite right for the publication; maybe the editor’s personal taste didn’t align with the subject matter; maybe they recently accepted a poem just like the one you submitted. Sure, maybe they didn’t think the work was “good enough” for their publication, but the next editor might have a totally different opinion. It’s a pretty subjective business. Case in point, I have very rarely sold a story that wasn’t rejected at least a couple of times, and I’ve sold stories that were rejected over a dozen times. I also didn’t make my first sale until I’d collected over thirty rejections.

    As hard as it is, don’t lose hope. Rejection is just part of the gig, and every author, no matter how talented or successful, deals with it on a very regular basis. My advice is when you receive a rejection letter like the one you’ve shown here, which is a form rejection that doesn’t tell you much, fire that poem or poems off to another publisher immediately. It’ll feel good, defiant even, and best of all you’ll be doing what every writer should do after a rejection: get back to work.

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