As of last week, “Such a Pretty Face” has been rejected seven times since it placed 10th in the genre category of the Writer’s Digest Story Competition. Of all of the rejections I’ve received, the rejections for this story have been the most frustrating.
The little bit of success I got with this story, really the first bit of success I had as a writer, was enough to make me think that I had the talent and the skill to be a writer in terms of making a career of it. It gave me the confidence to keep sending out stories, to keep writing and revising, to keep accepting the challenges and rejections with the ultimate goal of acceptance. This story really started the ball rolling for me in terms of my writing career.
So it really knots my panties that I can’t seem to get it published. It was good enough to beat out 90 other people for a spot in the top ten, but not good enough to be seen in print.
The rational side of me knows that’s not necessarily the case and that rejection is subjective. It might not be the story the editor is looking for and that’s okay. It’s a difference of opinion, not a slight on the story.
But the irrational, emotional side of me wants to know what I’m doing wrong. Why is this story suddenly not good enough? Why doesn’t anyone like it? Why can’t I get this thing published? And then I start questioning whether or not I should keep sending it out.
Persistence is a big part of success in the writing business. I know that. Every writer and writing magazine says so and I believe it. It’s logic. But there comes a point when I start questioning the persistence and start to think that maybe the story isn’t meant to published.
I hit that point with “Such a Pretty Face” at about rejection number four. I started questioning the wisdom in sending the story out. I had my bit of success with it and maybe that’s all I was meant to have with this story. It’s kind of an odd, illogical thought, but one that I have when I get back that rejection. I’m prone to those odd thoughts.
I keep sending it out, though, because I keep coming across anthologies that I think might be a good fit for it. And I’m always disappointed more with those rejections than any other story.
I once again received a rejection for “Such a Pretty Face” and I’m once again debating the wisdom of sending it back out again. But, it’s in the ready pile, waiting. Because I know I’ll come across someplace irresistable and I’ll send it out.
And I’ll dread the rejection that may come back.
Stories By The Numbers