I’ve Been Waiting For You
If you are a writer and you have been rejected, then you know what it feels like to be knocked down. If you have yet to be rejected, give it time — it will happen. But how — how do you manage not to get knocked out? Recently, I had one of my essays rejected by a prominent online magazine. I pummeled my brain for a topic, found one, then worked vigorously on building the topic around a connection and an athletic skill. I did the required research, edited, re-edited, tweaked, and edited the essay again before submission. I tapped at every ounce of strength in me working on this essay — trying to be sure I was clear and concise.
I waited six weeks to get the generic, read-all-too-often notification stating the following:
Thank you for sending us ____________. We appreciate the opportunity to read your writing. Unfortunately, this piece won’t work for ________ but we wish you the best in placing your essay/story elsewhere.
I read the rejection letter three times. I reopened my saved essay, edited it once more, removed some sentences, added a few, and decided to share it here on Medium instead. The feedback and reaction that I am receiving for this essay assured me that yes, perhaps it was not the best fit for that particular magazine. I shared it with my closest friends and even two of my friends who are both journalists. I received positive feedback from them and it made me realize that more of these tests are coming and I will have to be fully suited in armor and strong enough to take each blow.
What I am re-learning as a writer is to believe in my ability to do what I envision I can do. One rejection or two or three should not be my end-all. It never has been. It won’t ever be.
You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Be okay with that. Just remember: it’s not personal. — NY Book Editors
I prefer to know where I stand with a publisher, editor, magazine, or journal, meaning: I want to know if I hit their mark. If I did not, at least I know what I need to tidy up and what I should do before resubmitting. This is to say, I appreciate the generic rejection letter mentioned above a lot more than having my work go without a response. Two additional essays I recently shared here on Medium lingered in the email inboxes of two other online publications and I have yet to hear from them — no initial “We received your submission and are currently reviewing it. Please allow at least four to six weeks for a response” email — nothing.
Not everyone is going to tell you why they rejected your work; however, the blessed few who give you feedback are doing you a favor. — NY Book Editors
I have been on this end enough to know that those responses are not coming and I decided to move on. Publishing The Building Blocks of Me directly from my profile here on Medium proved to work its own magic. The Startup requested it and I agreed to have it hosted in their publication which is picking up speed, heavy ground, and links writers from all areas to share what we think we do best. The other piece still awaiting a response (which it will most likely not receive) is: The Life I Never Gave Him.
I decided to take a chance with my writing and publish those two essays when I felt it was time to do so and I do not regret this. I cannot say for sure that having a couple of essays hosted via The Startup has increased book sales, but I noticed within the last two weeks, my books are being purchased again. I am also quite grateful to Noe who plugged my work in a post of hers as well as P.S. I Love You, where I am currently noticing a spike in anything I have published there. I am not a sound marketer. I share links of my poetry books periodically via my website’s blog, but I do not always follow through with this.
Not only are my books selling once again, but opportunities present themselves to me for my poetry and I am not backing down or giving fear a chance to cripple me into saying, “No.” Two of my poems (“Embrace” and “The Unbelievable”) are a part of a remarkable anthology recently published entitled, SMITTEN This Is What Love Looks Like: Poetry by Women for Women. From what I am told by one of the editors, it is doing exceptionally well.
As a writer, I never tire of sharing myself with the world. It took many years for me to strip down to bare bones and give everything I currently give, but with this level of revealing, there will always be some degree of rejection. I intend to accomplish the goals I designated for myself earlier this year. No one can stop me from doing this. The fire is lit and a level of strength I have not seen in a long time accompanies me. As I stated in The Building Blocks of Me:
“I refuse to sit back and continue to do nothing. There is a life that I envision waiting for me and I intend to experience it.”
We make of ourselves what we want of ourselves after rejection. You have to ask yourself after being rejected numerous times, “Is it all still worth it?” And if your heartbeat quickens, your hands tremble, and your belly rumbles with nervousness every time you submit your work, then hell yes, it is!
Let your haters become your motivators. — NY Book Editors.
I wouldn’t necessarily say this exactly as a form of motivation for myself, but something quite close to it: “Let your doubters see you shine.” If you excel even after their denial and you do so consistently, they will notice you. They will have every reason to.
Rejection can knock me down, but it will never knock me out.
Hello, rejection: I’ve been waiting for you.
©2019 Tremaine L. Loadholt