So yesterday I got my first rejection letter of the year. After my first story got accepted for publication, I started editing a second one, which I had written some months ago. I sent it to one of my friends, who so kindly looked at both drafts and helped me make it better. (She even wrote a blog post on the tips she shared with me, you can check it out here.) Confident that the story was good enough (as my friend assured me – and I took her word because she’s had her work published on several platforms and recently had her first book launched), I sent it out to four-five magazines that accept simultaneous submissions. One of them replied yesterday, kindly telling me my story was not for them.
To be honest, it didn’t affect me that much. I was rather excited to receive a rejection. They say a rejection is an individual person’s opinion of your work, so you should try somewhere else, and your story will find its home. So I have kept my fingers crossed – I still haven’t heard from the rest of the magazines I submitted to.
The reason I’m quite happy to have received a rejection is that I’d read an essay at the very beginning of the year about setting an aim of receiving a hundred rejections in a year, the idea being that if you work so hard, you’ll probably get accepted to a lot of places. I’ve still got 99 rejections to go, although I haven’t made any official goal yet. All I know is I want to get accepted to 10 magazines.
I’m also thinking that perhaps – I’m not really sure – the reason I got rejected was because of my very bad habit of hurrying. I’ve lost marks in my exams because of hurrying, I’ve made conclusions about people and things that were not really true because I was hurrying, and back in 10th grade I got my first ever rejection (which was also my first magazine submission) because I was in a hurry. I’ve shared this before too, and I think that despite having learned the lesson twice now, what I’m failing to do is apply that lesson to my life.
The idea of receiving a hundred rejections – of all the hard work required for it – sounds aesthetically pleasing as a Hufflepuff. I want to stop doing everything and dig out all the stories I’ve written since I started writing every day back in April last year, and I want to see how much gold I’ve got, but final exams began yesterday and the next two weeks will be packed with studying. I will be writing 750 words every day, but I want to do more than that – read my own stories, edit them, send them out – do all the hard work because then it feels like I’m doing something meaningful and not just wasting all the precious time I have.
Writing almost feels like a spiritual activity – a kind of meditation, but also so much fun. I have the hard days when I don’t feel like writing a single word, but on the good days, it feels like I could do it forever. But sadly I’ll have to wait until the end of final exams to start working on something I care about (not that I don’t care about school).
Besides all the writing and eating a balanced meal everyday, I don’t think I’m following my goals and resolutions well enough. I finished the fifth week of my Ray Bradbury reading challenge, but I still haven’t been reading as many diverse blogs as I’d like to. So if you know any blogs written by people of color, LGBT people, disabled people, autistic people – please let me know. I want to read bogs written by all kinds of people about all kinds of things – books, writing, art, music, mental health, feminism – anything would do, as long as the blogs have diverse voices. Blogs on WordPress are preferable. I just want to change my reading diet because I fear I’m missing out on so many wonderful things, and I don’t want that to happen.
A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing. – Eugene Ionesco