Writing for Rejection

This week there are about 20 different pieces of writing floating around my brain and four of them are actually open in windows on my computer, each in a different state of progress.  One is a set of notes on something I am researching.  One is half complete – stalled with a difficult transition.  One is resting, and one old project keeps tickling my brain asking for me to return.

This is the ebb and flow of writing for me.  It’s never a situation where I start a single project and march dutifully to the end.  There’s a life cycle to each project that generally follows the pattern of, concept, research, first draft, second draft, rest, and then either post to my blog, or delete.  This week there seems to be more stuff in early stages rather than near the end.

Once in a while I think about why I am writing and what my goals really are with this whole practice?  Last week I was remembering some of my early desires to be a writer with a capital ‘W’.  You know, the well-known novelist who makes a living writing books, short stories and doing personal appearances with the odd college commencement speech.  In my 20’s I even made a small attempt at it.  I wrote a handful of science fiction short stories and mailed them to some magazines.  I even attended a few writer’s workshops and took a couple of classes.

I can now say that I’ve been rejected by some of the best science fiction magazines in the world.  I can also admit that most of those stories were genuinely awful.  I also now realize that I was more interested in getting published than in perfecting my writing skills.  Now, decades later I see that improving my writing should have been the first task.

These days I am starting to feel differently about my writing.  As I start on my fourth year of blogging, there is a confidence building my sessions at the keyboard and from time to time I actually think I’ve written something good.   I’ve spent a lot of effort in the last decade working on my writing skills and feel that effort is starting to pay off.  I don’t want to sound egotistical here, but I do write better today than my 20 year-old self did.

As I gain some measure of confidence, the old desire to get some work published has been returning.  I know I’ll never make a living as a writer, but there is a certain sense of accomplishment that happens when your work is selected by an editor.  It’s one of the things on my “todo” list, that is now becoming important to me.

So, using everything I know about writing and publishing, I’ve decided to make a more dedicated attempt at getting my writing published.  There are two basic things that have to happen to make this happen, writing things that are of a quality to get published and actually submitting them to editors who would publish it.

Sounds simple enough, but there is nothing as complex as simplicity.

There is also the reality that most writers get most of their work rejected.  It’s that rejection that becomes the barrier to many writers and myself too.  It’s far to easy to take the editor’s rejection personally.  Most of the time it isn’t.  Editors get thousands of submissions and can only publish a few.  Even if you have great writing, chances are it won’t get published.

My plan is simple, write one or two publishable pieces of writing (poems, short stories, essays, etc) a month and then submit them to appropriate publications.  Then I’ll sit back and collect the rejection notices.  My goal is to have 50 rejections by the end of the year.

It’s a bit of a head game, but it’ll helps lessen the blow of a rejection note.

and who knows, maybe out of all that activity I’ll connect with that one editor with the one poem their publication needs.

For the record, I currently have two pieces submitted and so far have had two rejections.  I’ll post the totals as the results come in.

Till next week,
Andrew

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I work in the high tech world doing software release engineering Then I got prostate cancer Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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31 Responses to Writing for Rejection

  1. Hi Andrew. Hope you’re work is published.
    For myself I write for pleasure. Doubt mine is good enough for people to want spend money to read it. Thank you for liking my poem Diamond Star! Best Wishes. The Foureyed Poet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I played the “Get Published” game many years ago when submissions were made by mail. One of the things that helped me not dwell on rejection was that I would already have the next market for a piece chosen, the cover letter written, the copy made, the envelope addressed, and postage in place. If a rejection came, the piece was back out into the market for consideration before I could dive bomb the lower emotions of rejection. If the rejection had some specific suggestions or points of reference to improve it from the editor….I often would make those changes as I prepared the next mailing. This method worked really well for me.

    It could be adapted to this modern time of electronic submissions.

    All my best to you Andrew. I enjoy your website so very much.

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  3. nimi naren says:

    Wishing you the very best Andrew.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The very best of luck, Andrew. Like you, I always have a number of pieces on the rack at the same time, some of which will be finished, some not. I no longer attempt publication; the satisfaction I get from writing is very much a personal one, and I find the constant submission/rejection cycle boring in the extreme.

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    • Andrew says:

      There might come a day when I don’t want to work for that kind of publication, but for now I am going to give it a try.

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  5. Great attitude. Not taking it personally is key. I’m glad you’ve already figured it out. You can write for the joy of writing, without expecting much, and then if something gets picked up by a publication, hey! Bonus!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Greg Merritt says:

    I haven’t any knowledge of professional writing or the publishing industry. I do, however, fully understand the desire to have your creative efforts both accepted and published. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but to have your work published in a book format has always seemed to me like the ultimate validation. I don’t dare dream that dream though. So I wish you the very best of luck and have no doubt of your upcoming success.

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  7. I admire your goals. You are right, it may take a few tries, but along the way someone will connect with you and all of the sudden you will be a published writer. For the record, I don’t think you sound egotistical, the more you write, the better you become. I think you were merely stating the obvious! 🙂 I am sure you have gotten better. Have a great day!

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    • Andrew says:

      You’ve got to have some goals. I have noticed that since I’ve been keeping a regular writing schedule, that my writing has improved. and I don’t mind being egotistical, I just don’t want to sound that way. 😉

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  8. I’ve been amazed how much the act of blogging has clarified my writer’s voice and improved my craft. Something about writing constantly that helps. Like reading.

    I write for an online ezine called Today’s Author –http://todaysauthor.com/. They’re always looking for writers to contribute one-a-month articles. Let me know if that appeals to you.

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  9. LuAnn says:

    Best of luck to you Andrew. I love your attitude. 🙂

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  10. dorannrule says:

    You are a brave soul Andrew to be setting a goal of 50 rejections. I am hoping you will get mostly acceptances and we can all celebrate with you in the blog-us-fear! 🙂

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  11. of course, you have readers here before you….reading your writing….which is what every writer is after: readers reading. so we hope you keep writing…if only for us (smile)

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  12. jfwknifton says:

    Being rejected doesn’t make you a bad writer, any more than Van Gogh’s failure to sell a single picture made him a poor artist. Keep at it, and don’t be tempted to cut your ear off. I can’t think of a single great writer with only one ear.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Chris White says:

    You’ll get there! 😀 Stephen King papered his wall with rejection slips.
    All the best. Kris.

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    • Andrew says:

      I was amazed how many times some of our famous writers were rejected. Sadly, these days it’s most electronic reject slips so I won’t be papering a wall – well, maybe I’ll build a screen saver with the emails.

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  14. davidprosser says:

    And if you do get 50 rejections you’ll have enough work to publish a book of short stories as an Indie so the situation can still be good. However Good Luck Andrew.
    Hugs

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  15. Phil says:

    Nice story Andrew. At least you are in the game. Best wishes for a more positive response to your submissions. Cheers, Phil

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    • Andrew says:

      Thanks, as a writing teach told me, writers write, and published writers have sent their work to publishers. We’ll see how it goes.

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  16. It has been a while since I have taken a creative writing course. I do remember the teacher saying target your audience. Read the guidelines for submission to a T and writing well is the other. She told us and this is years ago that in the submission if it was not to a T it ended up in the garbage without being read. She also stated that for every 20 submissions you will get 19 rejects. Like I said that is years ago and may not apply to today. Good luck with it all and keep thinking positive with your situation and you will manifest your wish. Be well

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    • Andrew says:

      Somethings never change and what you’re saying is even more true today. An editor with 500 submissions to sort through does look for gems first. First the editor looks for reasons to quickly reject – bad grammar, lots of typos, not in the correct format, not getting hook in the first sentence, etc all get the submission thrown out.

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