Forum / Demoralized

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    Arturo Ruiz
    Apr 24, 09:25pm

    Multiple rejection letters sprang into my inbox today. It felt like a 1-2-3 punch and a TKO.

    I don't even really understand why I do this absolutely humiliating thing of sending out my work and waiting on the other end for someone to tell me I'm "not a fit," or "not quite what we're looking for," or "it was a pleasure, but we're going to pass." I know it's part of the process of being a writer, but it is starting to wear on me. Since the start of the year, I've gotten close to 30 rejections, no acceptances.

    I've made my living as writer. I've been a newspaper reporter, a magazine editor for multiple large-circulation publishing companies, gone to school for writing, won prizes, and yet I still cannot figure out a way to handle this dehumanizing process of rejection.

    I have about 20 or so submissions still outstanding to pubs. At that point I am hanging up the hat. I will still write, because it's all I know how to do, but I will publish to a blog or make my own chaps. I won't allow someone else to decide if my work has merit. And most importantly, I will help others like me find a place to get their work seen. Because this current process of publishing is just not right.

    -end rant-

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    Rachna K.
    Apr 24, 10:50pm

    Rejections are hard, Arturo and most of my stories have 15+ rejections before they get accepted. And I don't make my living as writer, so the pressure is much less for me.

    I'd suggest trying different markets and familiarizing yourself with the journal/magazine before you submit.

    And maybe you already know this, a rejection never means your work has less(er) merit, it only reflects the choice/preference of the editor who is evaluating it.


    Keep writing.

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    Charlotte Hamrick
    Apr 25, 03:13am

    I really think it's important to know the journal you're submitting to and being reasonably sure your work fits their aesthetic. Some people say submit to as many places as possible as much as you can but I don't agree with that approach. I cherry pick where I submit and I don't submit often and, luckily maybe, I have a pretty good acceptance rate. But, like Rachna, I don't make my living as a writer. You are talented IMO so I say don't give up. Msybe just take a break.

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    Darryl Price
    Apr 25, 03:38am

    I just got rejected for an anthology, being told it was a matter of someone else's work being more suited to the value of the poetic task. I know this is not true. I know the value of a work of art, even if it is my own. They're saying someone else did a better job. Doubt it. I agree with you -- it really hurts -- and you can't even defend your work. Please hang in there. You are talented and one of a kind. Many writers feel the same pain. I wish it weren't so. But your many friends in the community will always support you and be glad you do what you do.

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    Erika Byrne-Ludwig
    Apr 25, 04:20am

    Not an easy thing to get one's work published. I sent approx. 25 stories in the past 8 months. 4 were accepted. 6 were rejected. All the others were probably simply ignored. Their editors certainly didn't bother replying either way. Jellyfish Review rejected my story, but the editor took time to read it and to make interesting comments.

    It's time consuming. By the time you "study" the journal to see if your work "fits" and then submit it, an hour has gone by.I'm having a break also though I'm not disheartened as I have no big ambitions.

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    Jill Chan
    Apr 25, 04:24am

    I have an observation about my own submissions. The more I like the piece I'm submitting, the more times it gets rejected. I think it could come down to editors being "insecure" and "envious." I'm not sure.

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    RW Spryszak
    Apr 25, 04:35am

    I reject as an editor and am rejected as a writer. At some point I must have either developed a very thick skin or that time I fell on my head has had a liberating effect. I have gotten enough of a callous to not react to the rejections and not think twice about the work I am rejecting on behalf of our magazine. I admit to getting a special joy in returning work that a cursory glance at our FREE publication would have demonstrated for the writer that we are not his fucking venue, but at the same time we have the most respectful rejection letters in the business.

    I think I got to the point were I don't take any of it personal. I think this happened when I would get nasty letters from frustrated writers who wanted exactly specific detailed reasons why I didn't take their masterpiece that would last in the collective mind of human consciousness forever. I read these and say [ "kill me if I ever get like that."

    When I was in my twenties and went to writers' workshops and took classes on literature and writing at Columbia Chicago, a very great woman gave me a piece of advice I'll never forget. She was an agent and colleague of the poet Gwendolyn Brooks and was already quite old. She ran the workshop I attended and, after reading something of mine to the group (her method, always followed by discussion), she looked at e and said "you can write. A lot f what you do is very, very good Don't quit your day job."

    Try not to take it personal, Arturo. You Suffer from the same imperative we are all under. You don't write because you want to, you write because you have to.

    Never stop looking for your tribe. When you find them, your outlook will be different.

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    Adam Sifre
    Apr 25, 01:34pm

    Try getting a dog. Then kick it.

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    Mathew Paust
    Apr 25, 02:24pm

    I've gotten pretty calloused over the years. Come to the understanding that at least with novels it's all about two things: market and connections. And the more I think about it, the latter is the more important.

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    David Ackley
    Apr 25, 08:28pm

    There's a funny set of pieces on fictionaut, which might be anthologized under the title, " ____ You,
    And Your Rejection Too!" I wish someone would pull them all together.

    Humor is the best revenge, I think.

  • Dscf0571.thumb
    David Ackley
    Apr 25, 08:36pm

    As, if you can call it that, a "Public Service," you can find my contribution to this rare and valuable genre here:

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    Jenny Rawls
    Apr 25, 09:11pm

    Don't take it personally. I've been on the receiving end of rejections, and I've written rejection letters. At the end of the day, regardless of whether you're the writer and the editor, you're both human,

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    Gary Hardaway
    Apr 26, 01:36pm

    Write. The audience will find you. Submissions are like bookkeeping- a necessary evil.

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    Barry Basden
    Apr 26, 06:21pm

    I recently read that Pirsig's Zen and the Art was rejected 100 times.

    So there's that...

  • Darryl_falling_water.thumb
    Darryl Price
    Apr 28, 11:19pm

    And don't forget, "Confederacy of Dunces!"

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    Ray Nessly
    Apr 29, 03:14am

    Actually, I read that Persig's book was rejected by 121 publishers!--not a "mere" 100. Sheesh. A wonder he didn't off himself like the "Confederacy of Dunces" guy did.

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