It was a red-letter day on Saturday…not in the sense of Woo Hoo – great! No, it was more the red pen of an editor rejecting my carefully crafted feature with a brief “not quite right for us” scrawled on it. I sat for a while, with umpty cups of coffee just staring at those five words and I could feel a big sulk creeping up on me.
It’s no good telling me that rejections happen; that it’s the nature of the biz we’re in; that I’m in good company and to think of all those famous authors whose works were rejected many times. I know about that – I know the best thing to do is to get back on the bucking bronco pdq. However, I’m still hurt, part offended, part angry. My expectations are in tatters. Was my poor piece so unworthy?
Gawd! I can be a right drama queen when I want.
However, I also know that in a few days I’ll be able to look at the piece again and reflect on it. The hardest part of rejection of any sort is recognising that what I do with the feelings I have now is down to me. It’s my choice. I can turn tub-thumper and rant with the best of them or I can run away, find a cave and curl up to lick my wounds. Or perhaps the sensible thing to do would be to stop taking it personally. It’s all part of the writing process.
It’s not as though I haven’t had work rejected before. I have; oodles of it. But the inital feelings don’t change. I’d love to be able to utter the immortal words: “Frankly my dear editor, I don’t give a damn” but I do, very much. It wasn’t War and Peace Revisited that I wrote, it was just 2500 words – but they were words that I put my heart and soul into.
Yet, even now, as I write this on Monday morning, the fire’s died down. I’ve re-read the piece; I’ve looked again at the magazine and it’s guidelines. Personally I don’t see the mismatch but I have to respect the editor’s opinion…can’t do much else really and anyway I’m probably still a bit blinkered.
So it’s time to stop being a wuss and get back to work. I’ve three short pieces sitting in the in-tray and my novel’s heroine is in the middle of a tricky escape from her villanous uncle and her sly-smooth cousin.
I’d better go and rescue her.