So as soon as I was old enough to articulate that I wanted to be a writer, the thing I heard most frequently was, “get ready to get rejected, and get ready to accept it.” I was always confused, because the writers were usually smiling when they said this, as if rejection was almost something I should look forward to, something I should wrap my arms around and greet like an old friend.
I’m finally starting to understand why.
*In the beginning of the year I was encouraged by a professor to start writing short fiction, like real short fiction, not just random excerpts from my novel. This something I’d never tried my hand at before. The following semester a different professor made it a class requirement that we submit short stories to magazines. I dug my heels in at first, and gave in.
I sent out one story, and it was rejected a few weeks later.
And the world kept spinning. My life remained the same. The sun came up, the bell peppers I planted still sprouted, and life went on. I got rejected and it was…fine.
So I sent out two more stories. Then five. Then ten. All of them were rejected.
Then something bananas happened–I received an email from an editor at Aphelion, accepting my story, and I wanted more. That was in March.
So I wrote more every day. I submitted more. I completed more short stories in a few months than I ever have in my life. And oh baby did those rejections roll in. Since March, I’ve been given 42 rejections. But the funny thing is that the more rejections I receive, the less they sting, and I start to enjoy the ones that are personal and offer me feedback.
The more I was rejected, the more stubborn I grew. I started reading more short stories. Like way, way more. And the more I read, the better my writing got.
This all brings me up to two days ago, when within six hours of each other, two different online venues emailed me accepting my micro-fiction. I was thrilled. I told more people about than cared to know, did a happy dance, and immediately went home and sent out more stories. Then today I received another acceptance.
I cannot even begin to articulate how much of a difference and an improvement I’ve seen in my long form fiction since I started writing short fiction this year. I write tighter, I’m better at trimming, and even my descriptions are better. I tend to get to character a lot quicker.
What I’m trying to say is, if you really want to write and submit to magazines and you’re scared of rejection–do it anyways. Accept that you’re going to get rejected. A lot.
But you know what? The world will keep spinning. You will still be you, your writing will still be there. The bell peppers will still sprout.
So you may as well just submit again.
*Both professors were right to push me out of my comfort zone, because if they hadn’t I still wouldn’t have ever sent anything out. They were both right, and I am very thankful.