Hi, everyone! This post is part of the A-Z challenge. Please take time to visit the other blogs that are participating.
For a writer, getting a rejection letter is one of the worst things that could happen. After days, weeks, months, even years of pouring our hearts into a story only to be told to take a hike is a difficult pill to swallow.
Over the years I’ve submitted a variety of material for publication. In my early years I submitted to magazines a lot. Most of the time I got the standard form letter…Dear Jenny, thank you for submitting your work to [insert name of agency/magazine, etc.]. Unfortunately, it is not a fit for us at this time.
Okay, no problem. I’m down with that. I mean, they didn’t say my writing was bad; just that it wasn’t a fit, right? Gotta move on. Keep going. For almost 2 years I diligently sent off articles, short stories, etc. with no luck. After a while, the rejections began to take their toll. Was I really that bad of a writer? Surely someone liked something I wrote. I changed tactic and started submitting short stories for competitions. Didn’t win anything. Then I started looking for homes for some of my short stories, submitting to anthology competitions. Again, nothing. Not even one bite. I decided to take one more chance with a short titled “When Herman Cries”. It was a children’s story about a goldfish who lost his mother and cried so much, his tears overfilled his fish tank. It was a story of grief and how kids find solace in the simplest of creatures. I received the worst rejection I could have ever received. I’ll never forget it. Paperclipped to my returned story was a yellow note that simply said in black marker,
There was no salutation, no closing. Just those four words.
I was devastated. Two days later, in a heated argument, I tore up my first completed novel, “One Night With You”…a fictional piece about Elvis Presley. I put my typewriter and pens away. That was twenty-two years ago.
In 2003, the writing bug returned to me again. Wait. Let me rephrase. It didn’t return to me. I returned to it, and oh, how my heart rejoiced. It was like being reunited with an old and dear friend. How could I have shunned my soul’s calling for so long? I began writing again, anything and everything…poems, short stories, flash fiction, novels, novellas, editorials. You name it.
For the past seven years I’ve done nothing but work on perfecting my own writing as well as those of others. I’ve read a lot, joined critique groups, landed a few lifelong beta partners. The internet has been a lifeline for me and other writers, offering outlets that didn’t exist 22 years ago. Now, my writing is better, crisper, but I know I still have a long way to go. I still get rejections and they still burn, but I’ve also received requests for partials and a request for an entire manuscript. And while each rejection stings, they are the yellow bricks that line the road to publication. I have a belief in myself and my writing now that I didn’t have 22 years ago. That publishing contract is close, I can smell it, and when it finally happens, I’ll have all the ‘Thanks but no thanks’ I ever received to thank for it. What a journey it’s been. What a fantastic journey it’s going to be.
What about you? What was your worse rejection letter and how did you overcome the sting?