Friday, February 4, 2011

I Did It Again...

After debilitating months of working and rewriting and sitting on and tossing away and rewriting, I submitted an essay for a contest. I toiled, I tell you. Really troubled over the whole thing. It was beautiful. Brilliant, even.

But they didn't see it.

Now I could run into the kitchen and try and hang myself with with that limp spaghetti that I haven't put away yet, or...I could just keep on toiling some more.

I think I'm getting pretty good at this rejection thing. One after another, they come and I keep on going. Continue to tell myself, "if you're getting rejections, at least you're writing." The more the merrier, right?

Wanna know something funny though? And I do this all the time. Just as I know it's getting close to the announcement of winners or I know I should hear something soon, the story runs through my head. Because I've read it so many times I've practically memorized it. And suddenly, as the announcement approaches, I begin to criticize my own work. Realize all the parts that could have been better. More fluid. More coherant. More descriptive. And then of course I know that the rejection is coming but in my mind the piece is no longer up to my standards.

What the hell kind of business is this anyway, that I've gotten myself into. Seriously. I could be doing something much  less glamourous like working the Drive Thru at Tim Horton's or shoveling snow for little old ladies. But, no, I choose to consistently poor my heart and soul into my projects just to have someone that can't really see the value in my love story, because maybe they just finalized a divorce, or my war story because maybe it's just a little too close to home, say, nope, it's not good enough.

And, then just like that, it dawns on me. It's not that my story wasn't good enough. It's that the other writer's stories were just a little better. Or maybe a lot better. Sure. Fine. I can accept that.

So what do I do? Since I have already realized some of the problem areas, I am just going to work on it a little more. And then, I will search out some new venues to submit that piece to...and I will start the process all over again. It's not the end of the world. Someone out there were surely appreciate what I have to offer, or I suppose I will die trying. But at least I will not have let those rejections get the better of me. If anything, they teach. Tell you that something was not right with it.

On the other hand, just because you got a rejection, does not mean that it's not good the way it is. It just means that at that particular time, it was just not the right fit for that particular publication. And in my case, because it was a contest, there were just that many more submissions under consideration. Like lottery jackpots. The higher the pot, more people by tickets, there by decreasing your odds just that much more. Go for the little pots and your chances have significantly improved.

Consider too, there are a lot of new literary magazines popping up. Online and in print. These new ones, will get fewer submissions to start with. So why not start there? Start with the ones that maybe, just maybe, your piece will get in by default. There's no harm in that, is there?

But most importantly, if it's something you really want to do, if it's really worth doing because you just couldn't imagine doing anything else, then keep trying.

Rejection is part of the process.

Enjoy it!

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