Getting rejected sucks. There’s just no way around it, and the path to becoming a professional writer is littered with rejections. And not even once that professional writer belt arrives in the mail (I so wish there was a belt—Texas buckle style) the rejections will continue to pile up.
The solution of course is to write more, keep submitting more, and this is sound advice. Writing more helps you learn the craft, to experiment, and to grow. Having multiple submissions out lets you forget and not fret about stories that are out for consideration—although managing those submissions can become like a game of cups and balls, except with eighteen cups and ten balls all zooming around (and don’t you dare get two balls in one cup [multiple submissions] or duplicate the same ball under two cups [simultaneous submissions]—career death will surely follow).
But what no one really talks about when you follow that advice, and you have ten, twenty, thirty submissions out, is that now the rejections come flying in, one right after another, sometimes several on the same day—minutes apart. It’s a different experience really than when you only have one or two pieces out.
It’s the cumulative effect that wears, rather than any one rejection in particular. Dear Market A, please consider my story—No. Market B, I’m submitting—No. Market C, Enclosed—No. Market D,—No. But I haven’t said anything—still, No. Market—No.
I follow Heinlein’s rules. The one relevant here is number four: You must keep it on the market until it has sold. I chart out a submission map for every story so I can get it back on the market in less than twenty-four hours of a rejection. It helps, but the cumulative effect can still wear on me at times.
Getting rejected sucks, but there’s just no way around it.
Note: This is actually a two part blog post. The one next week will not nearly be so woe-is-me (every writer is entitled to one of these type posts, writers self-pitying about rejection is a cliché after all).