We writers are the true rejects. We get up day in and day out, pushing ourselves to write the best damned story we possibly can. When it’s done, we find that it could be better, and so we edit it into the next year. We spend days, months, years- even decades writing our pieces with as much outside influence as we can stand.

But it only takes one rejection to kill a story. It’s funny, because our work gets rejected every day by readers who aren’t in the mood that day, or by readers who genuinely don’t like what we have to say. But unlike the voices of publishers and editors, we don’t hear those voices; they’re the silent whispers that touch no ears of pen-holders.

It’s the “thank you, no” rejections we get in the letter-mail that flips the careers of many writers. What could possibly be wrong with it, we think, it’s the best thing I’ve ever written.

There are rules to follow. Send it five times, never send something that’s been published on your website- and if it’s rejected by five separate competitions- change the title. And if that doesn’t work the sixth time- the story sucks, scrap it; let it go but look back to see what you did wrong.

You, right now, are reading the words of a reject. I’ve submitted to one lit mag, and four competitions. I’ve submitted the best work I’ve ever done. I’ve gotten the emails that say it’s not going to happen bucko, your work tastes worse than a pig’s shit on a plate, and it reads like the blind without braille.

Oh well. I failed.

Might as well pull out the notebook and write some more, because six rejected stories is just far too few to brag about.

Keep growing, my friends.


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