Monday, August 1, 2016

Rejection Dejection?

A recent article by Kim Liao on LitHub is well worth reading for any writer who wants to share their work with the world. She says to go for the rejections, as many as possible, because the more rejections there are the more submissions you’re doing, and so there are more likely to be at least a few acceptances. She quotes a number of writers who agree with this approach.

No one likes rejection, particularly for something as deeply personal as a piece of creative writing. One way to protect against it is to simply not send anything out. There’s no law that says you have to seek publication, after all. But there is a point in every serious writer’s life when the stimulus of being read takes the work to another level. This reading could just be among friends, but there can be the concern that friends are "just being nice." At some point curiosity about how a piece of writing would do in the harsh world of publishing prompts actually submitting the work. This is not ego rearing its ugly head. It’s more likely to be seeking of connection and a need to get feedback in order to perfect one’s craft. So out it goes. Then there’s waiting. Then there’s (usually, percentage-wise) rejection. Ouch! Who can blame the writer for wondering why even bother?

I have writer clients who were so terrified of sending things out, they never sought publication until they hired me to send it out for them. But more often than not, my clients come to me more than a little battle-worn and frustrated. It’s all very inspiring to suggest setting a goal of 100 rejections a year. It’s quite another experience to receive those rejections. And even another to turn around and send the piece out again and again. It would take an almost automatonic ability to rise up from rejection without first healing the perceived wound. Great if you can do it, but rare, I would think. Read the article and see what you think!

But first, on a related note, enjoy listening to George Plimpton’s very entertaining ‘Dinner at Elaine’s’.


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