A quick moral boost for writers considering submitting their work for publication.
Today’s post comes to us from our one-time intern Parker Hilly and is about what it takes to get published. Here’s Parker.
I mentioned in my last post that I had been submitting one of my stories to various journals and had already received my first rejection (and I’ve since gotten two more!). My rejection letter went a little something like this:
Dear Parker Hilley, Thank you for sending us “A Real Good Man.” This piece isn’t going to be a go for [our journal], but we appreciate your thinking of us and wish you the best in finding the right home for it. Sincerely, The Editors
I tried to remember the last time I’d been rejected as a writer and honestly couldn’t. And I’m not saying this because I’m overconfident in my abilities; it’s more so that I’ve never been rejected because I’ve never really put my writing out there to be judged.
But rather than feel the sting of rejection upon seeing that first “declined” notification in my inbox, I was actually a little excited. Someone outside of my circle read my work! They might not have liked it. Or maybe they liked it and simply didn’t have enough room in the journal for it. Or maybe it didn’t fit with the theme of the current issue. (Or maybe it was another reason?) But I took a chance and put my work out there for someone else to read. And it felt good!
We as writers need to remember to embrace that first rejection because it represents the first step towards the goal of publishing your work. Getting rejected once (or three times! or more!) doesn’t mean you should feel badabout yourself or your writing. For every 30 journals you submit to, only one might accept your piece, but you won’t be able to find that one unless you get 29 rejections first. (Stephen King received so many rejection letters when he first started writing that the nail he’d used to post the first one on his wall had to be replaced with a spike to support the weight of them all!)
Perhaps I’ll change my tune if it turns out I submit to 30 journals and not a one of them accepts my work, but then I’ll just have to submit to 30 more! The path to success is rough and paved with stones of rejection. Some of our paths may be longer than others (and we shouldn’t be mad at those whose paths are enviously short!). As cheesy as it sounds, seriously, don’t give up. If being a writer is what you want to do, actually writing is only part of the job. You have to put yourself and your work out there—and get rejected!
Parker Hilley is a restaurant general manager by day and a tortured writer by night. This Atlanta native enjoys pens that write really well, traveling, and napping with her three dogs. She hopes to follow through on her New Year’s resolution this year and complete her first novel by the end of 2019.