Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Rejected! How to deal with rejection when trying to get your work published

Rejection is a part of life. I'm sure you've heard that one before. Rather than spew out a bunch of outplayed cliches, I'm actually going to show you can use rejection to your advantage when it comes to getting your writing published.

About 4 months ago I decided that I wanted to try and get some of my short stories published in a real literary magazine. I had been published in different things on campus in undergrad, but I wanted something better to put on my resume. I found at least 10 different reputable literary magazines and sent my work with an in-depth CV with details about my writing and experience.

It took a while (4 months) for anyone to get back to me. In fact, I only heard back from one magazine. This is the email that I received a few weeks ago:

"I think the thing that first comes to mind is you have a good sense of language,which is cool and good dialogue here. Yet, what is missing is tension or the punch of the story. Right now it seems too simple, too patient of a story and it snakes around to the story with too much time. Here's some advice -- think about the person who is reading stories (and I saw you've been published places which is great so you've had success) but we read dozens of stories every day. We're impatient for the story to begin. The short story is a war so cut out everything that doesn't truly focus on the central theme of the story and write from there.You've obviously got talent, so I'm being a bit more honest than I usually am in the hope that you'll resubmit and do something with this piece".
That wasn't so bad, was it? I wasn't told that I was a crappy writer. In fact, whoever wrote this liked my style. I was given some positive feedback and was told to resubmit, which I plan on doing. Even if it is some generic message that they send out to everyone, it still made me feel good and gave me the motivation to work harder when I attempt to resubmit.

So what is today's lesson? Take rejection in stride, even if it's not with your writing. Learn from your mistakes and move on to bigger and better things. Good luck!

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