Sunday-ish Style: Encouraged by rejections

No, it’s not Sunday. Anywhere. But, here I am on Monday, putting my derriere in my chair to force myself to find something to write about. Sunday Style fits the bill, so we’re going to forget formalities this week. Sunday-ish Style it is.

If you didn’t already think I was off my rocker writing a post titled Sunday on a Monday, the phrase, “encouraged by rejections” probably has you either doubled over in laughter or shaking your head in concern for my well-being. But never fear. I have had a realization about rejections. Here’s why.

I just spotted a call for submissions on Literary Mama for writer moms who are working moms. Interesting! I clicked to find out more only to realize that I pitched an essay for this anthology about a year ago. The editor liked my pitch but then when I sent my essay she wrote back asking about another piece I had and asked if it was available. Unfortunately, that piece is fiction. Dagnabit. Never heard from her again (REJECTION).

Last week I sent off an article that I was really proud of, on the topic of parents and the impact of their “screen time” on their kids. I woke up the next morning, eager to check the e-mails that I knew would be, by now, piling up in my box. I received one response from a list of ahem, many, many editors. (REJECTION).

Finally, I realized I never heard back from an editor who sent an encouraging response about an article I submitted early this year. (REJECTION) But, I took the leap and sent a foll0w-up e-mail to her. Worst case? She deletes it without a second glance. Best case? She reads it and is reminded of my powerful prose and I land my biggest publication yet. (I vote for Option B, thankyouverymuch.)

How on earth can I say that theses experiences are encouraging? They all mean that I’ve been writing. That I’ve been submitting and that I’ve had responses from editors. And, they all mean that I have opportunities to grow.

Best of all? I realized that after the initial downer moment of these rejections, I had moved on. Forgotten about them completely. This is huge! In the past I would still be shoving pints of Ben & Jerry’s down in order to try and feel better about the rejections.

If anything, I think these rejections could be a good sign. Don’t “famous writers” often talk about the boxes full of rejection letters that sit in their garage/basement/attic? I’ve just added three to my box and it feels great.

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2 Responses to Sunday-ish Style: Encouraged by rejections

  1. Leah says:

    This is a great attitude, and not just for the writing world. I’ve been job hunting for a while now and have had a few interviews, but no offers yet. It’s hard not to get discouraged, but on the other hand, at least I’m out there trying, and even if the interviews don’t turn into jobs, at least I’ve gotten interview practice and made some contacts. (And the delay in finding a “real” job has motivated me to focus more on my writing too. 🙂

    Thanks for the positive message, Liz, no matter what day we got it!

  2. Jesaka Long says:

    Love this post, Liz! You’re about these rejections: it means someone is actually reading your work. Recently, someone said, “If you can’t plaster your bathroom walls with your rejections, you’re not trying hard enough.” Or was it submitting enough? Either way, it’s a good yardstick.

    Have you read The Help by Kathryn Stockett? She said she was rejected by 59 agents. Somewhere in all that, she had to be encouraged by rejections, too.

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