Thursday, May 15, 2014

Loving Writing & Rejection

I've been blessed to be put into a position where I can get up and devote at least a couple of hours solely to my writing process most morning. And I am loving it. I have added an entire story to my short story collection, did a full line edit on what is slowly becoming a complete middle grade novel about fairies and, most of all, I have felt like a writer.

But this post is actually about the other side of feeing like a writer. Rejection.

I finally received my copy of M from Big Pulp Magazine this week. I was reveling in the excitement of that when I received a rejection letter from another magazine the next day.

Of course this is always disheartening. It's impossible not to feel saddened when you are looking at a magazine and you think "that's the perfect place for my writing" only to discover that they don't agree.

As is my rule I responded to that rejection letter by sending a story out the very next day to someone else. I can't allow myself to wait too long between submissions because the minute I do that's when I get into a cycle of not writing, not editing and not submitting.

But more than that this was the first time I've received a rejection letter and it didn't truly deflate me. I have finally grown accustomed to the rejection letter and I appear to be kind of okay with it.

In her most recent Ted Talk Elizabeth Gilbert said, "I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing." She went on to say a lot more and its totally worth the watch, but that sentence stuck with me all day yesterday as I was thinking about this most recent rejection letter.

The key, I think, is that we have to remember how subjective appreciation of art is. What one woman hangs on her living room wall another may hang in a museum and still another may throw it into a dumpster.

And just because one editor said no doesn't mean you don't have talent.

So imagine this scenario. It's Monday. You're an intern and you've just spent all weekend breaking up with your boyfriend. His name is Cliff. You get into the office and pull a stack of envelopes from the slush pile. You open one. The first line of the first story you read on that Monday morning when your eyes are swollen from crying and your head is pounding from lack of sleep reads: "Cliff was the most perfect guy I had ever met."

That is why you can't take rejection of your art personally.

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