Hallelujah, I am free! Free of the negativity that has been lurking in my file drawer, taunting me with its bulging folder of apologies and rejections. Yes, I did it – I turned the tables on all those Sorry, not for us slips and rejected my rejections. They’re gone, baby – history. In the circular file folder.
Some were not so bad, mind you. Others were actually kind and encouraging. It gave me no pleasure to dump those. It was all or nothing, though. To cleanse my soul, they had to go. And I felt a heavy burden lift from me. I’d carried the weight of all those no’s for too long.
Yes, I know – some people save them forever. Wallpaper their office with them. Frame them. Whatever. To me, they were heavy baggage – too heavy. I don’t need any reminders of where I’ve been. I want to focus on where I’m going, and how I’m going to get there. If I want a reminder that all authors go through a period of rejection, I’ll read Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul. I recommend it for anyone who’s submitted and submitted and submitted only to be turned down, turned away, turned inside out until you feel like nothing’s left. No one is immune. It happens to everyone, rest assured – you are in good company.
And, like writer’s block, rejections can serve a purpose. First, you must grow a thick skin to be a writer – everyone’s a critic, and you have to be selective about what you take to heart. Sometimes having a manuscript returned allows you to take another look at it, polish it up, and send it off again. I am a firm believer in ping-pong manuscripts: if it’s sent back, knock it back out into the publishing world again. At some point, it’s bound to stick.