written by Melissa Connolly
A few weeks ago, in the email newsletter from Submittable, a compelling lead: Kim Liao urges us to try for 100 rejections per year (http://lithub.com/why-you-should-aim-for-100-rejections-a-year/)
That same week, I had gotten two rejections in one day and I was feeling pretty terrible about myself. Two! It doesn’t take much for me.
I had spent a lot of time looking at journals and very carefully submitting pieces to only a few journals at a time, remembering each of the few journals I submitted to. And every day after I’d think, maybe this will be the day I will get an acceptance. I imagined for myself a glorious future as a published writer that began at the moment that X Journal recognized my very special genius.
Of course, I had it backwards.
Kim Liao has covered the idea about coveting the rejection pretty well, so I encourage you to read this piece and embrace this idea – to aim for as many rejections as possible. To go for failure because in failure, you’ll get more practice.
The fact of the matter is, the history of literature is full of tales of famous writers rejected countless times. Failure is simply the price we pay, the accumulation of practice.
So I’ll just say this: If I’m aiming for publication, then it’s about me, my status, my career. If I’m aiming for rejection, it’s about the work. I’m not so worried then about what each reader at each journal is thinking, I’m not second guessing myself or thinking about what Joe or Sally wants to read. Instead, I’m concentrating on the story and meaning. On writing as much as possible and about what I want to say. And letting the failures stack up, becoming indifferent to rejection, as I practice my craft.
After all, if we worry too much about success, that’s what is taking up space in our head. Nothing sucks up creativity more than thinking too much about sales or awards or failure, about pleasing someone else, letting all those other voices edit you, stop you, be your muse.
If we worry about too much about the reader on the other end, we’re not pursuing a vision, we’re writing what we imagine someone else wants to read. And that might be good, but it is very rarely great.