Unwanted Words

On Dealing With Rejection

The world of the literary arts and the world of sales may seem to be separated by irreconcilable differences, but they are far more similar than they appear. Writers, poets and salespeople all have the unfortunate duty of calling out into madly spinning world, begging for it to slow for just a moment so they may be heard, be seen for a second. And in that second, hopefully make an impact.

In the wold of sales, these people attempt to achieve this dream by endlessly calling potential clients or buyers of whatever product they’re peddling. The incessant ringing of phone after phone trills on eternally for them. But with almost every dial there is a rejection on the other end of the line. At best, this is delivered in the form of a polite but firm, “No, thank you.” At worst, there are a string of cuss words venomously spat at them.

And yet, with every new lead they feel a surge of hope. The next one will be that whale or the next one or the next one….and so on. They can’t stop. Their livelihoods depend on it.

Not much differs from the world of writers. Submittable is the temple where they produce literary offering after offering to faceless editors of literary magazines. Like their counterparts, they keep submitting, furtively hoping that this next submission will land them a publication, perhaps even a book deal. But like the salesperson, nearly every submission is met with some form of repudiation.

Not matter how many rejections they get, these writers must carry on writing, continue editing. What else are they to do? If they stop a piece of themselves will die. And if they go on they will continue to submit themselves to the chopping block with each piece they send out.

The jab of rejection can be overwhelming at times, particularly if several pieces are dismissed in succession. When a writer finds this negative feed back is too much it is important to remember a few things.

First, take a step back. Revel in some other hobbies or activities besides writing. Dedication to your craft is admirable and necessary, but it is important to shut the laptop or drop the pen, in order to revive a sense of inspiration. Like a four leaf clover, at times them best things are found they are not being searched for.

Second, don’t forget that literary magazines and journals are very refined creatures and each one prefers specific styles of writing. There’s no need to become overly distraught when a piece which was delicately designed for a particular recipient is not accepted immediately. Pay attention to the work. Polish it again and again to make the words the best they can be. If it is again rejected by the first establishment, than send it elsewhere. Simply because a work is passed over doesn’t mean it fails to hold any merit.

In short, keep at it and try to maintain a modicum of sanity. Writers who let fear of rejection control them will not allow their writing to discover new heights or play with ideas that may transform their writing. Writing is a craft that must be nurtured, pushed, and it will stretch its creator to the limit. But it’s fascinating and well, fun, so don’t quit on it.

Keep submitting and continue to fling those poems, novels, mysteries, and manuscripts higher than others think they could possibly go.

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