I knew that when I decided to pursue writing as an actual job that I was going to have to toughen up pretty quickly. Rejection is the name of the game and persistence is the only way to win. To be persistent for the long haul, you have to be able to shake off the NO’s, heal quickly, and move on.
I caught on and adapted quicker than I thought I would, particularly after I realized just how subjective rejections could be (as I rambled on about in a previous post). There’s not much sting to them anymore. I make note of them for my records, jot down and consider any feedback I get (some of it has been helpful, some of it hasn’t), and put the story in my review pile so I can re-read it, tweak it, and send it out once again. A rejection now hardly gets a rise out of my disappointment meter.
In fact, I’ve gotten so good at rejection that I started rejecting my stories before they officially get rejected. If it’s been more than six months (usually it’s longer when I look at my records and realize that the piece is still out), I consider it rejected and move it to the review pile. Yes, I should probably get into the habit of inquiring about submissions because that’s good practice, but I still have to get over my hang up about feeling like I’m bugging people. Instead I just guess rejection and move on.
This has worked out for me so far, but has recently led to some confusion. As in I’ve gotten rejections for stories I already called as rejected. a couple of those official rejections came not too long after my own rejections.
However, the most recent one came several months after I considered it rejected, almost a year after I’d submitted it. The letter (an actual, physical bit of paper) was addreessed to me and was sorry to inform me that they wouldn’t be using my story. Except the story they referred to in the rejection letter was actually the title of an anthology that I had been published in that I offered up as a credit. Oops.
Yeah, I might have been momentarily confused, but that rejection didn’t sting at all.