I have just realised a story of mine has been rejected from 26 publications. I wonder when or if one should accept defeat. It brought to mind something I wrote a while back:
Rejection sounds like ejection, which makes me think of ejaculation: being rejected is a big gooey mess of mixed emotions. We are fragile things we unpublished writers; easily broken.
This is how rejection usually goes for me:
Hurt: deep and personal (me!). Reflection: long and hard (should I give in?). Reality: simple and true (I will never give in).
It is the most terrible thing. I usually find that I can’t write anything for a few days after I have been rejected. It’s a massive punch in the gut, and it takes a while to remember how to breathe.
The opposite of rejection is acceptance, and this acts like armour. The more acceptance you have, the less you are winded, the less you feel the fist of rejection. I wonder if there is a point where you feel invincible, where rejection doesn’t hurt? I doubt it. I should probably say:
We are fragile things we writers; easily broken, [handle with care].
There is hope though. An acceptance of the rejected! A magazine that only publishes a piece of writing if you can prove that it has been rejected elsewhere (Rejection Digest). What a beautiful concept, unless they reject you…*
*Fortunately there is a clause that if you have been rejected five times from different publications then you get automatic publication!
Electric Literature is one of my favourite (and most respected) short story magazines:
I wanted to let you know our readers found the first-person narration skillfully rendered, the dialogue colorful, and each aspect of the story’s world and its characters crafted with care. I also would like to pass on what one of our readers wrote: “This is a strong piece with brilliantly absurd renditions of reality.” Thank you for sharing your story with us.