I got my first rejection email today! I know this shouldn’t be cause for celebration, but still, somehow, it is. Because it’s the first time I actually allowed myself to send out one of my stories for publication. Which is a very big deal.
I have this belief that I will need a certain number of rejections before I actually get something accepted. It’s not because I’m being cynical or not believing in myself. I think it has something to do with practically every author recounting their many rejection slips. Stephen King started submitting stories as a kid and he put them all on one nail on a wall and let them build, for years. A recent published author in Glimmertrain said that it had only taken her 10 years to get a story published in that literary magazine. This makes me think that I better get on it, if it’s going to take ten years.
But what is more interesting to me right now is that the email contained a message. It said that though my story wasn’t the right fit, they “were impressed by my writing” and hope that I feel “encouraged by this short note” to send them more work. I glided right past this on my first read of the email, shrugged it off.
What I find interesting is that a year ago, these words would have me turning cartwheels. When I first started out, a few years back, all I wanted from my writing class was one word of encouragement. I wanted someone to tell me, yes, I have what it takes. I wanted someone to say that a story was worth publishing. Just one “wow” was all I was searching for.
About three or four classes in, I got my first “wow”. But I shrugged, because by then, I wanted more. I wanted perfection, publishing, to be the best.
Last class, my professor told me a story was ready to be published. I was satisfied, as I felt I had done my job. But I wasn’t elated, like I would have been if a professor had told me this in my first year. It took me a few weeks, to remember this, and then I truly felt pride that I had accomplished one of my goals. I had worked hard, and improved. I was getting better.
I don’t think this is a bad thing, to constantly be wanting more, to want to be better. And yet, sometimes I think we get so caught up in next, that we forget how great now is. Next will come. But today, I am looking back on where I started, at how little I knew and how much I wanted. And I am celebrating the steps I’ve taken, the small moments I’ve achieved.
So a rejection letter is great. It means I’m out there, it means I’m on my way.
3 responses to “Reject Me Now”
You are on your way.
I have a friend that counts the number of rejections she gets and congratulates herself when she reads the rejection letter. She believes it is her pathway into getting published. And you know what? It has led to over sixty of her articles being published.
Thanks Ru. We both have come a long way from that Inprint class!
So proud of you!