I want to talk a little about rejection. I've been thinking about it a bit lately. Now that I finally feel ready to put my work into the world in a serious way I have been getting a few of those little letters from editors. Your work isn't suitable for our magazine right now but submit again type letters, fellow writers out there will know the ones. I understand logically that of course my work isn't going to fit everywhere. And that's ok. I can look to the stories that circulate on social media about people like J.K Rowling and how many times Harry Potter was rejected by editors and I can take some solace in that. I can tell myself that when I read for lit mags that I reject good stories for so many reasons. But even after doing all that…it still sucks.
But it's just the name of the game for us creative types right?
When I was studying to become an actor it seemed like everyday was filled with rejection or criticism. Baring your heart on the stage as they say and then having to stand there and listen while your classmates discuss what was wrong with your performance, sometimes with tears still gathered in your eyes. And then I went into writing and started to participate in workshops. Those wonderful circles where you again bare your heart to your classmates and they sit around and discuss, among the good comments, everything that is wrong with your story. I have been in workshops for over seven years now. And was in acting school for two years before that. So I have a good nine years of being told what's working and more often what isn't. I've been growing this "thick skin" that is called for in the arts but still when I put a piece of work out there to the world and it comes back with a rejection (oh the worst for me is the formula letter) I can honestly say, it does sting a little.
I can handle workshops, I can handle editors, I can handle unsolicited opinions from friends and family and readers I've never met but for some reason, the you're not good enough for our magazine still gets me.
I do feel that I am getting better. Maybe numb is a better word but I have to wonder sometimes. What kinda life did I sign up for?