Thursday, August 11, 2011

How I deal with Rejection, and other epic stories 11/08/2011

"Situation Vacant, Apply Within" rejected by form letter from OG's Speculative Fiction. Then from Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, strangely enough without the feedback I usually get from them (they must be over slushed).

"The Words Women Say That Men Don't Hear" rejected by by form letter from Clarkesworld.

"Anthropology, Redacted" rejected by form letter (and one of the cutest form letters I've had) from Brain Harvest.

"Through The Open Door" rejected by form letter from Pedestal Magazine.

"Where The Wild Blackberries Grow" rejected by form letter from Fantasy Magazine. Longest wait on that slushpile yet - five days! (yeah yeah, I know, doesn't mean squat)

Someone asked me the other day how I deal with all the rejection that I get. "There must be a story in that!" I'm sure there is, but that story isn't anywhere near complete. I'm probably going to be getting rejections even when I make a name for myself.

As for dealing with it all, it depends on my mood. I have a mindset called Bartlet's "What's Next?" (if you're a fan of The West Wing TV series like me, you'll know what that means). I keep putting the story out there over and over until there is nowhere else to send it. Or, in the case where I've trunked some stories lately, I've learned from my writing mistakes that I'm not happy with the story and have put it in the recycle bin (not thrown out completely, just put somewhere for rethinking).

I'm sure I've said this before, but I make a game out of anticipating and counting my rejections. It's a nice wee thrill waiting on an email or letter to come back. I know 93% if the time it will be rejection, but it's nice to hope. And if I don't have hope (sprinkled with a bit of belief in my ability), then what the hell am I doing here?

Why 93%? Well, I made a mental note to blog about my 100th rejection, but that milestone slipped by recently without me noticing. I'm now at 110 rejections (overall) and counting. Out of 100 rejections I've had 7 acceptances. Hence, 93% rejection rate. I doubt that number will hold steady - may get better as my writing improves, may get worse depending on industry or unknown forces.

Not every rejection I get can be a wry grin, shrug, and an "oh well, what's next?" Some days I look at my submission file with REJECTION REJECTION REJECTION repeated down the pages and wonder what the heck I'm doing. The horrible R word looms out at me, mocking me for my temerity. "You think you can hang with the Big Girls? Buahahahahahaha!"

But I get over it, usually by writing something I really like or getting some awesome feedback. Sometimes it's a matter of holding on really tight to something really small even if it doesn't mean jack to anyone else, like personal feedback from a respected editor, or spending a longer time than usual on the Fantasy Magazine slushpile (all the while reminding myself that doesn't mean anything).

I'm doing my best to hang in there, considering the last five months. I'm not going to give up on trying to be published, because the only reason I won't be able to write will be that I'm dead.

Rules of Failure: If at first you don't succeed,
destroy all evidence that you tried.

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