Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Ups and Downs

Sometimes I forget how weird the writing life can be for one's emotions. Last night I found out that an article I thought was accepted for a book wasn't going to be used after all. The editors had liked my piece originally, but decided to go in a different direction from what they had first solicited from me. I have another market in mind, but they held it for right at a year! Sigh. Then I emailed six poems off to a magazine on January 2nd, and already on the 3rd I got rejections on them all. Sigh! Three of the pieces were ones that I'm particularly proud of. One I spent almost a month working on, and another had been accepted twice by different magazines that folded out from under it. I sent them out again right away, but felt for a bit that maybe there was no use. Sigh!!

Then about two hours ago I got an acceptance on a sort of prose poem short story that I'd submitted to Night To Dawn magazine. I felt good about that, but the experience reminded me of what I already knew and yet seem too often to forget. In a way, writing is like working with severely ill patients. You learn that you can't fall in love with such patients. If you do, your heart will break with theirs, and you'll die a little bit as they die. You give them what you can, what they need, but you have to remember to save yourself.

So, whatever you do, don't get emotionally involved with the submission/publication process. If you do then the highs will never compensate for the lows. Save your passion for the writing itself. Once the writing is done, submit it, but don't invest yourself in its acceptance or rejection. It's not personal. Any more.

6 comments:

JR's Thumbprints said...

I couldn't agree more. I remember one story of mine in particular that kept getting "glowing" rejections, then all of a sudden three different literary journals wanted it. It was my turn to do a little bit of rejecting. Instead of feeling vindicated, I simply wrote two of the journals a "thanks but no thanks" letter.

cs harris said...

Rejection is always hard to take, whether we're being rejected by a publisher or even one reader who doesn't like what we wrote. Having a novel rejected by a publisher stings because we've invested so much time in it, but at least the exposure to editorial rejection is relatively limited. But the writer of multiple poems and short stories must get that pain constantly. I admire people who can take that rejection with a shrug, and simply resubmit. It's so easy to let the doubts creep in.

Sheila said...

I expect rejections. I haven't gotten any yet, because I haven't sent any out haha, but I did send out to a competition I'll be hearing from soon and plan on sending another one. If I win that's great. If not, I know I have a great story and will try elsewhere. I expect I'll be upset but I am very passionate about writing and will continue to do so. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Stewart Sternberg said...

Funny, I just got a rejection slip. I think the best way to handle rejection is to find a scapegoat. My suggestion is for us all to pick some pure schmoe by picking a name out of the phone book and then with each rejection, we drop him a nasty note and place a phone call, whispering: "Sonovabitch", and then hanging up.

Clifford said...

Back when I read writer's mags I read an article by an overly upbeat woman who claimed to look forward to rejections. She said that there was a finite number of rejection until a story sold, so each rejection got her one step closer to that acceptance. As you probably guessed, by the end of the article I wanted to stab her in the eye with a spork. That said, I have to admit that I haven't been overly depressed by rejections since.

Charles Gramlich said...

At least several of you commentors are crazy. But I'll leave the others to identify you. I'm afraid of what might happen to me if I named names.