Being rejected is part of the writing life. Yeah, yeah, we know that. But it can sometimes really drag me down and I have been known to indulge in a big ol’ sulk. Other times I have a nano sulk and let the rejection bounce right off. Acceptances are joy – they validate and elate. Whoo hoo for acceptances. However nobody, no matter how shit hot a writer, is going to be accepted every single time. Not unless they are a “name” – one of those elite who carry so much weight with their history that whatever they write, no matter how shonky, is published. (And the reader who questions the merit may feel that it is their own lack that stops them comprehending the genius.)
When I am rejected I often hate the rejected story. I re-read and what once seemed good, solid prose can appear tatty, flimsy, pedestrian, unbaked. (I have a couple of stories this is not true of. I remain deluded convinced that they will be huge successes one day.) I may ignore the rejected words for a while, or edit, or fling ’em straight back out hoping they will find a loving home. There’s no strict routine, it depends on how my mood is.
Roxane Gay wrote a post about rejection etiquette on the PANK blog the other day. I always find Roxane’s posts there, and on her personal blog, fascinating. In this particular blog post I was struck by the comfort to be found here:
“If you are only looking for a “Yes,” you’re perhaps not cut out for the publishing game. More often than not, the answer is going to be no because any magazine can only publish so many writers. We’re basically full through October online and about 90% full for our next print issue. The majority of the writing we receive is great but we, like most magazines, are in a position where we can only publish the writing that really grabs us, that really makes us fall in love, that really moves us.”
This post was written on 31st May and already PANK are full for the next five months. I know this is the way things are with them as I had an acceptance from them a couple of months back that won’t go live until July. They receive untold amounts of submissions, they are chock full, when they say no, it’s not always going to be that the words sucked arse or that you’re not good enough. And it’s not just PANK is it? It’s all of the quality magazines and journals. This makes me feel so much better. I know how many talented writers are out *there* in internetworldwidewebland. I want my stories to shine and stand out, and sometimes they do. That’s bloody brilliant.