Friday, February 22, 2013

Rejection, Persevere, Win, Repeat

My latest published work, "Muddy Water" in the February 2013 issue of Sparkle

There's nothing quite like seeing the words "Written by [insert your name here]." For me, it's more than just reassurance that I really can write, it's a reminder of what I can accomplish when I persevere. Last year I sent out eleven manuscripts (fiction and non-fiction) to several children's magazines. Of those, nine came back with the words, "Thank you for your submission but..."

There are times when the rejections get frustrating. As a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom with a graphic design business, I definitely don't write as often as I'd like to. And after weeks of propping my eyelids open til midnight in an effort to send off a handful of manuscripts, those "no thank you" replies can sting. (Especially when rejection letters from magazines who don't publish theme lists come back marked "did not fit our current editorial needs." Then tell me what you want from me!).

But every acceptance I receive is made sweeter by the rejections I've had to endure to get there. Since 2009 when I began submitting, I've racked up 27 rejections and 5 acceptances. My first year submitting manuscripts I didn't sell a single one. And when I did finally get my first yes, my excitement was tempered a bit by the news it would be published in a future issue--three years in the future, to be exact. (I finally get to see it in print this August).

No matter how many you receive (I've been told you never reach a point where you're above them) it's important to remember this: Rejections aren't the end of the world. It may mean you need to be humble, accept some constructive criticism and make some changes to improve your manuscript. Or it may simply mean you haven't found the right home for it. Just because it gets turned down, doesn't mean that your story (or you) is worthless.

After all, Gone With the Wind was rejected 38 times before someone was smart enough to say yes.

Have you had a victory born from perseverance? Share your wins in the comments below. I'd love to share a virtual high five!

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