On the 19th of July, my short story “A Voice Exhumed,” inspired by Miley Cyrus, written with the help of John Jameson in a Minneapolis hotel room, edited with the help of Juan Valdez and a steaming cup of brief, revised with the help of my good friends over and Litreactor.com, was accepted for publication by Fiction Magazine for their August issue of “Under the Bed.” I am stoked!
Checking my phone, when I see an email come back from an editor, I automatically assume rejection and beginning thinking about who I can submit it to next. Not that I’ve never had an acceptance email come through before, but they are much rarer than those rejections. This email I had to read twice. Yep. This wanted my story.
I’ll admit it. I did a silent little dance and maybe pumped a few victorious fist into the air. Hey, these moments are what get us through all those moments of self-doubt that fill the massive voids between acceptance letters. The first time I was accepted for publication, me and the wife even went out to dinner to celebrate. You have to celebrate. That sense of vindication and validation is what gets us through the darkness.
What’s really cool, is that this blog series now gets to carry on. I’ll be working with some editors over at Fiction Magazine as they collaboratively edit the story using Google Docs. This story will then they be published in both digital and print form. Once published, I get to do some more bragging and promoting. And I’ll blog each step of the way. So stay tuned! I’m really excited to be published and to work with editors and see my story in print, but also excited to share and document the experience here on my site. Watch for updates and the eventual links to get your copy of “A Voice Exhumed”!
Rejections happen. Rejections are necessary. Rejections force us to tried harder, to be persistent, to earn our keep. Rejections make us better than we were before. They are the grindstone which sharpens our literary sword.
But forget all that. Rejections suck! They are heart breaking, even when you've read all the blogs like this one that tell you how regular and inevitable they are. When you start collecting them they chip away at your pride. Even when you tell yourself that they happen to everyone. Even when you read JK Rowling's rejection letters. Even when other writers make it a goal to reach one hundred rejection letters every year and you'll only up to twenty and they're already crushing your soul. Maybe just subliminally. Unconsciously. Inevitably, they will wear you down...
If you let them. All I can say is don't fear the rejection. Expect it. Welcome it. They're just emails, usually in form version. Occasionally with specific comments, which is really a good sign. Brandish them like scars of war. An army drill sergeant once told his recruits that they should thank the Viet Cong, or "Charlie." He bellowed to them, "Charlie makes us stronger. Charlie makes us train. Charlie makes us sweat. Charlie makes us lethal. Without Charlie, we are nothing!""
Me? I keep my subscription to Duotrope going and as soon as that email comes it I hope and start hunter for another publisher. The only other option is to quit and be nothing.
Have you been rejected? If not, you're not trying. Share your frustration, or better stated, show off your war wounds in the comments below.