I used to have this horrible fear of rejection… that if I submitted anything I wrote, it would be read by others, judged, and then laughed at for being the worst drivel to ever be committed to a page. I was always afraid that I wasn’t good enough; that I was wasting my time, and that my writing would never take me anywhere. I say this because I had to face that fear yesterday. I received my first rejection letter.
Yes, it hurt like hell. Yes, I got mad. Yes, I got upset and wanted to cry and scream and throw a tantrum. Yes, I wanted to call the editor and yell at her and tell her she was a fool for not buying that story.
But I didn’t.
I had that moment of absolute panic – that knife-in-the-chest pain and the fear that I truly wasn’t ever going to be good enough to achieve my goals. I got extremely upset and considered deleting the file containing every bit of writing I’ve ever done. I almost reached the point, staring at that sad little form rejection letter, that I cried.
But I got over it.
Once I was able to think rationally again, I realized two things: First, I am good enough. I’ve been writing since I was able to hold a pencil. I used to win awards in school. I’ve got a contract on one of my stories.
I CAN DO THIS.
Second, I realized that the reason it was rejected is because the story isn’t finished. I started looking at it again last night after I cleared my head, and the more I read, the more I realized that there were multiple loose ends that need to tie up. Some of the story seems rushed, and parts of it were stilted.
Once I got over the anger and frustration, I was sort of relieved that it wasn’t contracted because I would have gone back through edits and very likely hacked it to bits. I’m not happy with the story as it is – don’t get me wrong, I love the idea and the characters. But I know when I look at it now that it still needs a lot of work and has a long way to go before I can actually publish it.
I think that this story is one of the reasons why I’m so stuck on everything else. It’s an incomplete project that I’m trying to rush, and I need to step back and take a long look at it before I try again. At least I learned something from this… being rejected isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I look at it more as a warning that something isn’t right. And if a publisher isn’t going to be happy with it, I certainly won’t.