Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A tidbit about rejection

This tidbit came in an email exchange I had with a writer about rejection. It gave me pause for thought:




I think most writers probably believe being in the dark about their own work is scarier than the confirmation of our fears about it. At least that's true for me, and it probably has something to do with the sort of lonely nature of writing to begin with.


16 comments:

Gabrielle Prendergast said...

Kind of like "better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt"

Better to NOT let others read your work because you THINK it might be awful than to show your work to others and have it confirmed.

Except not.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

In a way it’s like waiting for ‘my cowboy’ to call so many years ago. If the phone was silent I knew that not only did he not like me, he liked someone else better. It would have been interesting if just once he called and said, “You’re a fat, ugly, stupid bitch, no-way would I be caught dead being seen with you.” This would have enhanced my self-perception in two ways, I would have learned what he really thought about me and he would have been correct; he wouldn’t have been caught dead being seen with me, because I would have hidden the body so well.

What does this have to do with the lonely nature of writing, not a damn thing except that, as Mary said to Rhoda way back in ’75, “sometimes alone is better.”

Problem is...kissed or kicked, you never really know the truth unless you saddle-up and at least try to ride. Giddy up little-sharky, giddy up.

Philip Harris said...

I agree with this completely. I come up with reasons my story has been rejected that are far worse than the actual reasons.

Jeremy Myers said...

Yep. Bad news is better than no news.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

While I'm not sure that's how I feel about rejection (or at least not in all cases), it's something that I can respect and appreciate.

Considering the level of....well, garbage...I have come through my hands at the library on a regular basis, I feel that publication is typically only a matter of time. Thus, it's discouraging to me to think it is not, in fact, merit based.

french sojourn said...

Do the absolute best you can. By being true to yourself, and the story, there should be a sense of accomplishment in finishing your m/s.

We know of course, when I finally send mine out (When it's completely finished) I'll be singing another song completely.

(Probable along the lines of Billie Holliday)

merde'

Mick said...

Sometimes I prefer form rejections to personal ones. It allows me to believe "Well, my work just doesn't find their plans at this time." Whereas a personal rejection sometimes tells me exactly how I screwed up and why I am not awesome. (I know, I know. Personal rejections are often very helpful. BUT STILL.)

Amanda Capper said...

Very well said. And I agree completely.

sapphostorque.com said...

I think this writer's comment rings true in a lot of ways. At least when there's an actual rejection, I know I can go back to the manuscript and work on it some more -- even better if there are specific reasons for rejection that I an actually work on. Not hearing means being in limbo. Rejection means being able to move on and do better next time.

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

Rejection is part of the game, but when you're not told WHY your work was rejected, you've got nothing to work on. When they tell you that – in their opinion – the story moved slowly, or the characters didn't work, or whatever, you can go back and work on those things. You have something to go on. When all you're told is "No thank you," or even worse, never hear back at all, what can you do? It's all about working to make your best work. Without feedback, you're working in the dark.

NotaWarriorPrincess said...


Fast and real rejection is always better than drawn-out hoping, souring to despair with the sllllllllooooowly dawning realization of the suckiness. That's why QueryShark is genius. You want to know? You REALLY want to know? You'll KNOW. Exactly why. Pain makes you feel something. Silence kills by inches....

Bill Scott said...

Agree with Ol' Chumbucket. It would be nice if there was an agent's blog (not a writer's blog) along the lines of Query Shark but was for the first page.

Suggested title-

I STOPPED READING HERE -->

Steve Stubbs said...

The phrase “the confirmation fo our fears about it” makes it clear the writer presupposes that his work is crap and is just looking for confirmation. If “being in the dark about their own work is scarier,” then what this writer is saying is, “Thank you for telling me my work is crap. That makes me feel better.” My blunt reply to that is:

When in doubt, don’t send it out.

This should not be an exercise in public masochism. I would think you would want to send something out that you were optimistic about, then be surprised when everyone throws tomatoes at you rather than stand there with an empty salad bowl and say, “Bring it on.” (OK, maybe have some lettuce and dressing in the bowl, but no tomatoes.)

Frank Mora said...

The problem is that when a writer hasn't develop the thick skin required to embrace criticism, he/she
has a full blown hissy fit making the person providing the feedback with a hard learned lesson, killing the chance for the rest of us to receive some much wanted feedback!

donnaeverhart.com said...

I prefer to know opinions...,simple as that. I tend to sit and worry and wonder until I hear confirmation that it's a pile...or not.

V Brown said...

It's better to know the truth, always. Then you can make the changes necessary to (hopefully) be successful.

Living in a delusion will only make you bitter and stunt your growth as a writer.