The other day I received a rejection letter. It was fine, as they go. It addressed me by name, offered the vague yet slightly hopeful response that my story ‘wasn’t what they were looking for at the moment,’ and reminded me to format future submissions in standard manuscript format (which, to be honest, seems to change from submission to submission). It was just for a short story I’d sent to a magazine, a long shot to be honest and I hadn’t really been expecting much from it. So again, fine.
And yet, not. It really hurt, in an ow-y punch to the gut kind of a way. And I couldn’t really figure out why. I mean, it’s not my first rejection letter. But it is the first one I’ve received in a while. And then I realised that it had brought it all back to me. How it felt last summer when I was riding the submission train, living in hope only to have another letter, another email, dash my expectations to the ground. I wasn’t such a nice person for a little while – at least I felt I wasn’t, though perhaps no-one noticed. I did have a couple of requests for the full manuscript and some lovely responses from other agents, but they led nowhere in the end.
It is part of being a writer, they say. And of course it is. Just like one star reviews and people who get cross and launches that fizzle to nothing. The key is to persevere, they say, and I get that too. But that little rejection threw me. I realise I’m a bit emotional at the moment. I’m having some health stuff sorted over the next few weeks (which may mean I won’t blog as often for a little while) and that’s freaking me out. So perhaps that added to the intensity of my response.
But I am getting ready to re-board the train. I have a book called A Thousand Rooms that is nearly finished and that I hope to start submitting soon. Another summer marred by rain and rejection? I hope not 🙂 I shall gather my British optimism with regards to the capricious nature of both agents and the weather, and I shall live in hope. Because that’s part of being a writer too.