The first rejection of a new story is always the most difficult one for me. The new story is complete, you’ve worked hard on it, trying to build into it what you’ve learned from previous rejections as well as new experiences you’ve added to your writing. You revise the story more carefully, you gather feedback from people you trust. You cut, cut, cut away the fat. And you end up with something that you feel proud to send out.
And then, the story comes back. It’s a downer. It’s even more of a downer when it comes back with a form letter, especially if you’ve been getting some amount of editorial feedback on your recent rejections. I have to admit, it made for a bit of a tough night last night. I went home enthusiastic to get some writing done, and when I found the rejection slip in the mailbox, I lost some of that fire.
But I’m feeling better today. The rejected manuscript is out at another market and I am eagerly looking forward to finishing up the latest story that I am working on. I am somewhat behind schedule for where I’d like to be, storywise, but sometimes, a rejection is just the thing you need to spur you along. The more stuff you can produce, the more you learn, the more stuff you have to send out. And hopefully, with each completed story, the next story you work on gets better.
Yes, first rejections on new stories are tough. They are your babies. Often times, as writers, our favorite stories are the ones we just finished so we become more emotionally attached to those. But now that it has been rejected that first time the sting is gone, and I’m ready to jump back in the writer’s seat and move on to the next one.
And for the record, my score for the year, so far, is: 8 submission, 6 rejections, 2 outstanding.