“Tell me about your childhood!”
It’s me, your epidermally abundant friend, sharing my latest literary brush-off with you from my neck of the (red)woods.
Yes, I’m developing a thicker skin, and it even grew a few millimeters more overnight!
At least in my most recent turndown, a different one than what I wrote about last week, I knew there was a strong chance my submission would be rejected. Even so, I felt stung upon receiving the news.
The same-old thoughts paced frantically through my brain which included You’re not good enough!, Why even bother?, and of course the classic:
Your writing sucks!
Then I switched gears.
I reminded myself that my writing reflects who I am, and no one else can create rambling prose quite the way I do! Simplistic as that may sound, it comforts me.
The editor who rejected my writing is just one person. With her own subjectivity. It’s not like a panel of twenty experts decided my writing wasn’t up to snuff.
I licked my ego wounds. I vented a bit around the house and sat down at my laptop. My writing muse/collie Lucy promptly sat gently and warmly in her special spot, which is upon my foot. I felt better than I thought I would.
I started writing again. It was the best antidote to literary rejection besides chocolate.
For fun, I grabbed my mental surfboard to go online surfing to review famous author rejection letters. I came across these excerpts from Writer’s Relief. One excerpt falls in the WTF category – can you guess what # it is?
- Sylvia Plath: There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.
- Rudyard Kipling: I’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.
- J. G. Ballard: The author of this book is beyond psychiatric help.
- Emily Dickinson: [Your poems] are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities.
- Ernest Hemingway (regarding The Torrents of Spring): It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it.
Writer’s Relief Inc.’s blog post “How to Interpret Rejection Letters from Literary Agents And Editors” is worth a visit. I especially like the opening paragraph:
Rejection letters from literary agents and editors of literary journals can be discouraging—especially impersonal, one-line form letters. But rejection is a necessary part of the writing process, and creative writers should know how to interpret the information in rejection letters and then use this knowledge to improve their submissions.
Sounds good to me.
As my loyal friend, hilarious visionary and former Good Times editor, the gifted author Greg Archer, often says:
I’m now on Instagram! You can follow me here: birthofanewbrain
Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth), will be published by Post Hill Press in Fall, 2017.