The Anti-Rejection Slip

Sometimes you wonder if you’ll ever get published. What is it about publication that lures us? For some, you need to publish to teach in a college setting. For some, it’s the satisfaction of knowing someone thinks highly of your work–your blood, your guts, your all.

It’s nice to be validated and to share your work and hope that it makes some kind of difference. It has been said, time and time again, that there are a billion rejections before an acceptance. The key is to keep trying. I can’t tell you how discouraged I became, when I tried my best and really polished something and it got a big, fat “No.” Sometimes that “no” is because the work needed more time and we didn’t see that. Sometimes, we pitched it to a publisher whose journal wasn’t quite in tune with what we were saying…

For whatever reason, rejection is hard, but it does make the good news of publication even sweeter. Bear with me, here, I’m an idealist. After a few attempts at publishing pieces of my memoir–talk about not taking rejection personally!–I sank back into editing and giving the work a great deal of space.

Then, the seeds of determination sprouted and I vowed to send out two excerpts a week until something was published. Maybe it was the extra time I took or the extra set of eyes on my excerpt. Maybe it was the power of positive thinking. But it happened. I carefully researched some journals that might appreciate the unique content of my memoir and submitted to them.

Did it feel great to get that acceptance letter? Yes. Did I jump up and down in my study and scare the cat with my jubilant dancing? Yes. Is it any reason to take a break–NO. The piece is live, people are (hopefully) reading it, and I have some validation that someone, other than myself, took the work seriously.

But what is more important is to forge on. Is it that you want a billion publications? Your ego might crave that, but the appropriate answer is because the work itself is reward enough. It does parallel that “life is a journey” euphemism, I know, but I have found it to be true.
It’s like looking at your neighbor’s house and wishing your house was as big as his…look instead to that cozy little house you’ve made your own and relish in it. I suggest that metaphor for your writing life.

If you are really a writer then you know, even if you procrastinate, whine, complain and excuse away your precious writing time that the writing itself is as necessary as going to the bathroom and more joyful than indulging in that Caramel Macchiato you’ve withheld from for so long.

So, write on, writer friends. The reward is yours to reap if you just give yourself time and space for it.

Be well,

Rachael

P.S. If you should care to check out a great writing journal and see some great works and art, please visit: http://www.thewritingdisorder.com

Their new edition is up and also exhibits the labor of my memoir writing. Thanks!

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