Sunday, August 5, 2012


…There are few pursuits where rejection is more commonplace than writing.  Acting, perhaps.  Maybe music.  Some of other arts then.

Writing is personal and subjective.  What one person likes, another loathes.

You throw yourself out there and a lot times you come caroming back, boomeranging back. 

It takes a lot of guts vat and a person has to have a tough shell.  It reminds me of saying to someone, “Go ahead, take a whack at me.  Hit me in the gut as hard as you can.”

I got novel rejected the day before.  The editor who asked to see it was the same one who picked my story to be the winner at the PNWA Writer’s Conference.  He said I’d won by a long shot and wanted to see anything else I had.  I warned him that the story I’d written wasn’t my usual fare, that typically I write dark fiction where the characters struggle mightily and often suffer tragically.  I could tell he didn’t believe me.  He said, send me you novel anyway.

So it came back with a blunt note saying “Sorry, the story just didn’t grab me.”

And that’s okay, because a novel has to entirely believe in your work if they’re going to support it.  The problem is, after a while, I start disbelieving in the novel myself.  Maybe it’s not very good, maybe it’s too quirky or poorly written.   

You send your work out and you wait, and when it comes back, even if it’s accompanied with a kind note, it stings.  Always, it does.

Yesterday I got a poem rejected.  Funny, because that same piece has already been published and since I sent it out to the rejecting publisher almost a year ago, I’d already assumed he passed on it.  Said publisher said he “admired my writing” and would like to see more.  I guess the thing to do is believe him.

In her book, “Bird By Bird” Anne Lamott says, “Try not to feel sorry for yourself.  You’re the one who wanted to be a writer.”  That’s true, but self-pity sinks in now and then, whether one tries to shield themselves from it or not.

It’s a part of the game.

A friend of mine said, “Getting published isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”  She has a book out, of course, and therefore has license to spout such a thing.

And maybe it’s not all it seems.  I’ve had just under 700 short pieces published, I’ve won some contests and prizes, and my debut collection is coming out in a couple of years.  Still none of that is good enough to buffer the latest rejection.  I’m always left wandering, always left wanting more.

Maybe I’m a greedy bastard, a whiner.  Certainly, I’m better at feeling sorry for myself than the next guy or gal.

I’m okay.  Just a little self-reflection and ranting.  I don’t do that often here.  But it sort of felt good to get it out.  Hope you don’t mind.

Now I’m off to work on the novel which I hope to finish in days, polish, polish some more, and then shoot it out to the ether.

Wish me luck.


  1. Hey... Good luck on that novel. Hoping it finds a home soon. I can't wait to read it!

  2. Andrew,

    Thanks so much. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.