In the past week, three of my writing submissions were rejected. To one, there was no response. One made it to the long list but failed the next hurdle. The third (of which I had high hopes) came with a rejection email that complained about font size.
To say I was dejected would be a massive understatement. I considered that perhaps I just don’t have what it takes. Whatever the elusive ‘it’ maybe. I thought about giving it up altogether. Or, at the very least, taking a break from all my frenetic short story writing. Yet, with a deadline looming, I had a decision to make. Either to bypass this particular competition again, or to knuckle down, sod the odds, and submit submit submit.
Then I happened to stumble across an article that spoke to me directly.
It outlined the many bestsellers that had multiple rejection letters behind them. That, but for the writer’s persistence and self belief, would never have seen the light of day.
Consider this: Margaret Mitchell got 38 rejections before Gone with the Wind found a publisher. Kathryn Stockett’s The Help was rejected 60 times! J.K. Rowling received 12 publishing rejections in a row.
Yet, if there is one thing that binds these authors together, it is their determination, their refusal to take no for an answer.
I understand that all judging is subjective.What one particular competition may disregard, another may commend.That does not, however, let me off the hook either. My job is to refine whatever I am writing, so that, if it is rejected, then it’s not for trivial matters like font size.
So, with this in mind, I am back to writing. The other stories will languish on my laptop for a while, till time and distance lends me the perspective to go back to them, and edit,tweak and polish.
Ultimately, it is better to live with rejection than with regret.