Like many elementary school diaries and middle school Xanga accounts before, this blog has fallen to the wayside a bit. I always start out with such high hopes of documenting every day of my life, but next thing I know, it’s been several weeks and I haven’t documented diddly.
I think my main problem is that I feel like I have nothing important to say, or at least, like no one will care what I have to say. This is the same problem I have when it comes to submitting my short stories for publication. I have always wanted to hold a literary magazine in my hands that had ten glorious pages of one of my short story inside, but I also don’t want to hold a rejection letter in my hands, so I’ve always chosen to not submit. I normally make up an excuse about the story not being good enough or not having enough time, but the truth is that telling people you’ve never been published because you haven’t tried to be published is WAY easier than telling people you’ve never been published because you’ve been rejected a million times.
With that said….I submitted a story! I submitted one of my favorite short stories I’ve ever written to a literary journal that I adore about two months ago, and since then I’ve anxiously awaited the return email that would determine my story’s fate. Alas, the news I have to share is not cheerful. My story was rejected. However, there are some serious silver linings to this situation:
1) I’m still physically and mentally capable of putting my fingers to a keyboard and producing words, so that proves that rejection did, in fact, not kill me! That age old saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” definitely applies to me in this particular situation. I’ve never been the type of person who accepts rejection very well, so I was nervous as to how I’d handle it, but I seem to be handling it pretty well. (I’ll get back to you after my hundredth rejection letter and let you know if I’m still mentally stable.)
2) I’m officially in the company of people like J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and countless other writers who have been rejected at some point in their lives, often repeatedly. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true! I’m closer to being a published writer now than I ever was before. I’ve actually made an attempt at being published and that beats having a folder full of unread short stories on my laptop any day.
3) It was JUST a rejection letter. When submitting I had fantasies of the editor showing up at my doorstep to shake my hand because I wrote the greatest story he’d ever read, but I also had nightmares of my story being published for the express purpose of showing people what NOT to submit to a literary magazine. So, with that in mind, a simple “no thanks, maybe next time” was actually a blessing.
The lesson learned here is that you have to try in order to succeed. I’m reminded of a movie where Hilary Duff is a modern day Cinderalla (I think the movie is literally called A Cinderella Story) and her dad tells her, “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” I’m sure this quote was around long before this movie, but it’s where I first heard it, so…step off. The point is that I didn’t succeed this time, but I’m a lot closer, and that is a step in the right direction.
In conclusion, I’ll try to write more blog posts about my writing process and my overall progress in becoming a published writer even when I don’t feel like anyone cares, and I’ll try to submit more stories even when I’m scared of being rejected.
P.S. - Thanks, Hilary Duff!