Monday, July 5, 2010

Write, Submit…Rejected

You’ve worked hours on your next masterpiece. Sweat has poured from your brow as you have tried to get each word absolutely right. Punctuation in just the right place. Each line has been written and re-written until it flows like water from a tap. It’s perfect. How could any editor or judge not see it for what it is? The best manuscript you have ever written.

The literary magazine or contest has already been chosen, now you have to make sure you’re following the submission guidelines exactly. Page numbers are in place, a cover page written and you’re sure to not include your name or address on any of the written pages. You print your masterfully crafted pages, seal them in an envelope, address the envelope and skip off to the post office box, knowing the editors would be crazy to not publish this great work.

Now you wait. The submission deadline is still weeks away so you know you won’t hear anything for awhile. If at all. Now you start to question your abilities as a writer. You want more than anything to relish in that high of success. But there are so many good, no great, writers out there. Surely there will be something better than yours.

But what do you do? You can’t just sit around and wait for a response because it could be months and if it’s a contest you just submitted to, it’s likely the only way you’ll know you weren’t selected is when you receive that subscription that you had to pay for just to submit. Nothing like reading the stories that were better than yours. But maybe it’s not such a bad thing. You can read those stories and analyze them to see what it is the magazine was really looking for. Find that thing that stood out above all others and try to implement it into your own writing.

So what’s left? You want to be a writer but you know the likelihood of you getting published is slim to none. Do you give up on your dream or do you just keep trying? Stephen King didn’t give up. Margaret Atwood didn’t give up. No, giving up is not an option. All those famous writers were in your shoes once. Experiencing rejection after rejection but they kept on going.

You have to keep writing. Keep doing what you love. Crafting more and more great masterpieces. Keep submitting.

I have actually learned to appreciate the rejection letter. After all, it means that I have been writing. Someone once told me, each rejection just puts you that much closer to an acceptance. So how can you give up knowing that you are THAT close. What if the next one is the one?

To become a published writer is a long and arduous journey. The rejection can be demoralizing. Make you want to throw down that pencil and say screw it.

Anything worth doing is hard. Remember that, and keep writing. Enjoy the rejections because one day they will be a thing of the past.


Robin van Eck


  1. Sorry to contradict you, but they will never be a thing of the past my dear! Rejection is a lifelong state of affairs. Even once you're "successful."

  2. Oy. Once again my delusions have been foiled. :)