Rejection #14: Chronanon

Rejection for Chronanon.  Came with a description of why it was rejected, which is better than just a flat rejection.  May try to punch it up as one of the things that was mentioned was that it is discussion of action rather than action, which is quite slow.

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Rejection #11: Minor League

Sent Minor League to Strange Horizons, who have decided to pass on it.

Can’t blame them, really.  It’s not a very traditional fantasy/sci fi story, and the market for superhero prose isn’t huge.  Ultimately I think that might make Minor League a tough story to place, for all that it was a fun story to write.

Oh well, will send it out again tonight.

Writing: the feeling of not being wanted.

So I made a silly new year’s resolution this year.

I was in a place where I wanted to move forward with my writing.  I’d been doing NaNoWriMo every year for a long time, and I’d been polishing my writing through a very good writing group, but ultimately speaking I’d been very cowardly with my writing.  Each time I finished a November novel, I saved it, closed the file, and walked away for a long time.  Each time I submitted chapters to my writing group I took back the paper copies, incorporated the notes, and closed the file again.  I was getting better as a writer, I know I was, but if nobody was seeing it, who cared if I was getting better?

I’d gone through a phase a couple of years before of trying to get an agent, but that had gone nowhere.  I’d written fanfic  (not for a fandom I was part of, long story)  but the thing about fanfic is that the community tries so hard to be supportive that I found it hard to have anything to push against.  It’s great to have the reinforcement of people saying nice things about your writing.  What I wanted was people saying nice things when they could just as easily have said nasty things and the experiences I had with fanfic didn’t provide that.

So this year, to spur myself on, I made the aforementioned very silly new year’s resolution.  I’ve mentioned it before.  I wanted 20 rejection letters by the end of the year.  The thought was to send my writing out so much and so often that I’d get better and my writing would be seen by as many editors as possible.  I’m now half way through the 20 rejections.  I got my tenth today.  The process has taught me a number of things, and reminded me of one thing in particular, something I’d tried to put out of my mind when I made the resolution:

Being rejected fucking hurts.

It hurts in every field.  Not getting a job interview hurts.  Getting a job interview but not getting the job hurts.  Not getting a first date hurts.  Not getting a second date really hurts.  Each time, whether people mean to or not, they’re saying that they looked at what you sent them, looked at what you are, and didn’t want it.

When you send a story to a magazine and they decline it, it feel like they’re saying that they looked at what you do and don’t think it’s good enough for them.  I know enough editors to know that this isn’t true, a lot of good stories get passed over because they’re not right for this moment, but that doesn’t change how it feels at the time.

Ten times this year I’ve given something I was proud of to people, to be told they didn’t want it.  Honestly in some cases I can acknowledge they were right.  Say Not A Prayer For Me probably isn’t right in most places and I’ll probably stick it in a drawer for now and come back to it later.

Each time you get told that, you feel the temptation to step away, to not put yourself through the judgment of others.  It’s silly and self defeating but if you don’t submit a piece it can’t be rejected.  They say you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.  That’s true, but you hit 100% of them, too.

Those of you paying attention to my blog (basically just me) will have noticed that there’s a month-long gap in me sending anything out, or at least in me hearing anything back.  Ironically this happened at a time where I was writing a lot, but it also happened in the middle of a really hard month personally.  I was tired, my mood was low, my anxiety was high, and frankly I couldn’t take the hit of another rejection.  So I avoided it by not sending anything out to be rejected.

I’m feeling a bit better now.  Not great, but a bit better.  I’ve edited some stuff up, and the piece I got my tenth rejection for is one I finished editing this weekend.  I’m pleased with it.  Whether anyone wants it or not I like what I’ve written.

So now I’ve got to keep my chin up, keep writing and editing, and whenever I can keep submitting.

Because I’ve got 20 rejections to get by the end of the year.  And I’m going to do it.

Rejection #10: Clarkesworld

Finished a story called Chronanon earlier in the month and sent it out to Clarkesworld.

Didn’t find a home there, but oh well.  This one is a bit more conventionally marketable than Minor League or a couple of the other things I’m working on, so it’s possible I will have more luck with it.  We’ll see.

In other news, I’m gearing up for November.  I think I know what I’m writing, I just need to get stuff put together so I can plot it and put it out.  Oh, and organize November events, of course 🙂