I know I’ve been writing a lot about rejection lately (and I might have repeated myself a couple of times), but kindly bear with me.
On Tuesday, minutes after I’d published my last post, I opened my e-mail, and guess what was waiting for me? Yes, another rejection for the most recent story I’d submitted. I’ve now received five rejections so far. The editor said he would not be taking it on, but he liked the idea. So there’s now one thing common among the last two stories I’d submitted – both times I was told that the concept was good, but both times I’d failed to execute it properly. I’ve now found a particular area to work on . That’s why feedback is so important for a writer.
I’m honestly disappointed with myself though, because again and again I learn the same lesson and yet I fail to follow it while working: not to hurry. I’d sent my most recent story because I was in a hurry to get published, even though I knew it wasn’t that good. It’s one of the stories I’ve enjoyed writing the most and I knew I could do something with it when I was initially working on it. And I did – I butchered it so badly that it almost became worthless. I’m saying almost worthless because some part of it is actually good. Even the editor said he liked the idea.
That day, as I wrote about it to my diary, I decided to no longer send out crap just because I’m in a hurry. I know I’ve said this before too, but I’ve never acted on it. This time though, I’m more serious than I’ve ever been because that particular story was one of my favorites. I’ve decided I’m not going to send a story out until I’ve given it my all. There’s no point in collecting rejections for stories that weren’t good in the first place, and I’d be wasting the little time I’ll spend on them. So instead, I’m going to give each story time and consideration, and if I’m stuck, I’ll put it away for a while and work on another story.
Also, I’ve started focusing on another thing – the platforms where I want to see my stories published. I’ve decided I’ll read as many stories from a magazine as I can and then choose, among all the stories I’ve written so far, the ones that will be a perfect suit for that particular magazine. I’m also going to critically analyze the stories published there. One thing I’ve learned so far, although may have been saying it for ages, is that beautiful prose is just the dress-up of the story. As long as the story wearing it is crap, the beauty of its outfit it irrelevant. Or to say it simply, people don’t like flowery prose that does not tell a (good) story. I’m going to work with these lessons in mind, and also go back and fix the stories that got rejected. It might look like a slow way of working and then I might not get a hundred rejections by December 31st, but if I work smartly then I might get my 10 acceptances before I get my 100 rejections. It all depends on how hard I work.
I might sound very optimistic here on my blog, but to be honest, when I received my latest rejection, I was feeling way down that I’d expected, so I browsed the ‘rejections’ tag on WordPress, and it really helped to know that there were other writers who were struggling too, but who also maintained a positive attitude despite having their work rejected. I even found a fellow blogger who had undertaken the challenge of getting a hundred rejections this year. I felt quite better after reading those posts, but most helpful of all were the people who left comments on my posts, encouraging me to keep working. Your support matters to me, and I’m really grateful for it.
While browsing through those posts, I also found a video – a TED talk by Jia Jiang on being rejected for a hundred days – and I though it was worth sharing. It’s not really about being rejected as a writer, but the rejection we face in our daily lives, what we can learn from it, and how easily we can change it. Check it out here!
Overall, this week was a great one. I finished reading Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (highly recommended) and will be starting working on my Psychology project (five tests and a case study!) next week, which is going to be one hell of a week – Holi’s on Monday, school’s re-opening on Wednesday, and my flash story, ‘Monochrome,’ will be published on Thursday on Flash Fiction Magazine! I can’t wait to share it with you all!
I hope you all had a great week filled with love and laughter. Happy Holi!
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston S. Churchill