Rejections, Growth and Suckage

There are rejections and then there are rejections… There are form rejections, there are constructive rejections, and there are those rejections that say something wonderful like, “As is often the case it was not an issue of quality, but more an issue of limited space. Please do not consider this a ‘rejection’.” Of course, that last one will make you smile while you declare “damn” under your breath, but it is still exactly that—a rejection.

But rejection isn’t a bad word. We get “rejected” all the time and don’t just give up over it. Didn’t get that job interview? Oh well, try again. Didn’t get that loan? Oh well, maybe in another six months. Got dumped by that person? Oh well, lots of fish in the sea. Rejection happens, repeatedly, throughout our lives, and we deal with it just fine in every other avenue, so why not with our writing? That’s my philosophy.  That’s part of the make-up in my stubbornness.  Take from it what you can, but suck it up and keep going.

And while it’s all well and good to be able to deal with rejection, sometimes there’s a little something-something that comes with it. Some key thing the editor didn’t say, but maybe your gut did, or that tiny voice that screams out occasionally from the back of your mind. And that’s what I got early last week.

I have a rule: nothing sits over night.  If it was a ‘positive’ rejection, it goes back out immediately.  Constructive may require some tweaking, and that gets done immediately.  But every once in a while, as I look over what’s coming back and needs to go out again, I realize that what I sent out sucked. But it didn’t suck when I sent it… I can only believe that it did indeed suck, but that as we grow as writers we learn the difference between thinking everything we write sucks, and knowing that we’ve changed enough that something really does suck. This wasn’t the lack of confidence suck. This was the slap in the forehead oh-my-god-I-let-someone-read-this-what-the-hell-was-I-thinking type of suck. And for that, I’d rather have a rejection than have something that truly does suck get published.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to de-suckify this short story, apologize to anyone I made read it, and see if I can’t find it an appropriate home…

Thoughts? Tell me what you think...

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