It stings. Last night I was checking my e-mail and I was super excited to see I had a reply from one of the magazines I submitted my work to. My excitement lasted about four seconds. Rejected!
As I said before, rejection stings. The worse kind is the dreaded form letter. When someone adds a hand written message or a personal comment, I actually feel ok. I take it as a chance to learn about my work. It’s the form letter that bugs me. You couldn’t even put a scribble on it? At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. A rejection is a rejection, and once you read it, it’s over.
For some people, I guess, rejection is extremely painful. I read about how people cry and devour pints of Ben and Jerry’s, and lose hope. They vow never to submit again. To me, that reaction is extreme.
Rejection isn’t personal. The editors just can’t use the piece for whatever reason. There are hundreds of reasons, several which have nothing to do with you or your writing. It’s not personal, it’s a business. I think writers tend to forget this. Just because we are marketing something that is close to our heart, we forget, in a sense, we are still selling a product. The product just happens to be part of our soul and took us hours to create.
After I read the e-mail I did what I always do when I get rejected. I printed the message, hole punched it, and put it in my binder. (At a later post, I will explain this binder. It’s my system of keeping track of submissions and rejections.) And now I will forget about it.
I’ve heard all different opinions about rejection letters. Should you save them? Should you throw them out? The funniest advice on rejection letters I ever read was “have someone else in your house open all letters from editors. If it is a rejection, have the person throw it out and never mention it to you.” I actually spit out my drink when I read that. I’m sorry. If you are not tough enough to open your own mail, you will never make it in the business (or in life). Rejection is part of the game. It makes you stronger to open all those letters that bring disappointment.
I save mine. It is a paper trail of all the hard work and effort that I put into my writing career. Besides, I follow a long line of great authors who saved their rejection slips. Stephen King put his rejections on a spike in his bedroom. I put mine in a binder. I’m not going to be dramatic about rejection. I’m not going to cry or hide or raid the freezer.
Besides, I eat too much ice cream anyway. I don’t need an excuse to eat any more.