Wallpaper With Rejections

When I started as an author, I received many, many rejections. Some pointed out the problems my work had, others weren’t so kind. Once we were in the 2000s, a lot of rejections came in the form of no response.

Recently, I made the decision to go green with my writing. What that meant was that I was going to stop printing out every tidbit of my stories and saving them in binders. One reason was that the binders were taking up valuable office space. Another reason is that paper and ink are very expensive, and I was trimming my writing budget.

I can’t really tell if it was delight or dismay when I discovered the pile of rejections would actually cover the walls of my office and the hallway outside it. To be honest, I probably did send out a number of short stories and novels that were far from ready for publication back in my early days. I was on a high. Within months of seriously beginning my writing career, I had sold my first story. In my mind’s eye, no one would reject me.

Oh, the pain of that first rejection, although the editor who wrote it was very kind. A slew of more rejections came after that, most the usual “it’s not right for us” or “we’re not accepting this type of story right now, but try again in the future.”

There were a few editors who must have been having a bad day when they wrote the rejection. The anger coming of that paper was palpable, some even suggesting that I give up writing entirely. I have to admit that more than a few of them hurt a lot. But those didn’t stop me. I became a crusader, seeking out new publications or publishers, always searching for the right place to put my stories. Along the way, I collected quite a few stories that have never been published, because there came a point where I saw that the short story long a part of some great magazines, was rapidly vanishing. The reason for that was the internet gaining respect, publishers going green, and the magazine of yesteryear going the way of the dinosaur.

There still are a few magazines, but nothing like there were from the early part of the twentieth century through the first few years of the twenty-first century. Fledgling ezines (electronic magazines) rarely paid much more than a few dollars. In order to achieve my dream of becoming a full time writer, I turned to novels and a whole new pile of rejections, most from the Big 5 publishers.

Now that I have a very inexpensive wallpaper to save me money on redecorating my office, I’m also much wiser. My stories have gained a polish. They are strong and make their point without all the extra descriptions I once leaned on. Do I still get rejections? Sure, even the most well published author will occasionally get a rejection. But like in the beginning, I don’t let that stop me. I move forward, seeking the next story, searching for the right place for each story.