Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Grand Rejection

I knew this day would come.

With submissions, come rejections. The two go together like peas and carrots. I hate peas. Like Tom and Jerry. Like Cadbury Creme Eggs and Easter. I frickin love Cadbury Creme Eggs. What I don't love is rejection.

Oh God yes.

I was afraid, when I first started finishing things and sending them out into the world with their little bindle sticks over their shoulders, hopping boxcars out into the interwebs, that when (not if, but when) I got my first rejection it would flatten me. I was afraid that rejection would send me into a doubt spiral like that whirlpool at the end of The Little Mermaid. I was afraid of listening to The Smiths and dying my hair black and painting my fingernails black and wearing black skinny jeans. Black like the depths of my sorrow.

I'm so dark.

 Mostly, I was afraid that being rejected would make me stop writing.

You know what? It wasn't that bad. What I got yesterday was a form letter rejection. I won't say the name of the press because I'm sure they are a fine organization. I have no problem with them. Are you ready to have your heart ripped out and shown to you still beating? All right, here it comes. Brace yourselves.

Hi Ian,

Thank for your submission of "Magician's Helper." Unfortunately we don't think this piece is right for [Name of Ezine] at this time.

We encourage you to submit to future issues, such as the upcoming [Future Themes] issues. We also suggest that you subscribe to our newsletter for updates on future calls for submissions. 

Thank you,

The [Name of Ezine] Team

Pretty horrible right? What unbelievable assholes.

I was afraid that a rejection letter would tear a hole in my very soul, but it turned out to be nothing but a polite "no thanks." I guess I don't really know what I was expecting, but definitely I wasn't expecting it to feel so unimportant, so casual, so... polite. There was no insulting my work, no criticism of my style, no "yo momma so fat" jokes. There was no resentment, no chip on my shoulder, no "I can't believe you don't appreciate my genius" rant. It was just kind of like... meh. *shrug*. I gave my story a quick run through a spellcheck filter, patted its little behind, and sent it off to another press.

He'll get there eventually.

It wasn't that I didn't care, or wasn't disappointed, but it wasn't this life-shattering thing that I was afraid of. It was no big deal. I'm glad, because it promises to happen a lot. A LOT. So the less I fear it, or let it keep me down, the better I'll be. I'm glad they rejected me, because now I don't fear it. The band-aid has been ripped off. 

One last thing. I would like to point out the obviousness of their form letter. My name, and the title of my story are in a slightly smaller font. So there, jerks at [Name of Ezine]. I've seen through your ruse. I AM SMARTER THAN ALL OF YOU!

No, they aren't jerks.

Well, they could be. I don't really know them. They might be jerks. Who is to say?


  1. Wonderful post, sir...your reflections on the subject are diverting. And well-illustrated with creme eggs and angst. Seriously, though...getting all upset over it, especially when you understand why the R happened, is kind of counterproductive. You could be using that time to write! hehe. I'll admit, when I've gotten rejections I will whine a bit or eat more burgers than usual, but I get over it quickly. It at least means you're putting stuff out there, and that is more than a lot of people I know do!

  2. Thanks. I have two still out there, and one in the chamber, so that's three more rejections I have to look forward to! I hope my attitude about it then is as healthy as it is now.

  3. For more insight on rejection check out this blog post from Angela Kirkland:
    My First Rejection