Tag Archive | Rejection Letters

Goal: At Least 50 REJECTIONS a YEAR? No Problem, Let’s Go Crazy!

Typically, rejection doesn’t hold a positive connotation. And why would it?

Rejection is painful.

When I was much younger writer, I often didn’t bother submitting my work because I didn’t think it would be accepted. Plenty of times while writing a query letter or a cover letter, the part that always froze me up was when I had to list previous publishing credentials. I was a teenager and feared that the writing contest I won as a seven-year-old would be laughed at or the poems and short stories I had published in the school newspaper were worthless. I didn’t know that not including any accolades was . . . okay.

This defeatist way of thinking ultimately trapped me in a fixed mindset.

I didn’t allow myself to be comforted with the fact that “sometimes, you’ve got to start from nowhere to get to somewhere” and “hey, you may not be there. Yet. You will get there if you don’t give up.”

Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset

Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset — Your mindset can vary from interest to interest and from day to day. Simply being aware of your mindset is half the battle.

That three-letter-word “yet” holds as much power as the two-letter-word “if”.

Also, I was unaware of problematic issues within the publishing world. For example, I didn’t know how systematically racist the publishing industry can be — especially when it comes to the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre. I feared rejection and ironically was surrendering to this practice by rejecting myself.

Self-rejection not only affected me, but it didn’t give others the opportunity to even take a chance on my work.

Thankfully, I know better and I choose to do better. For instance, I learned that magazines like Fireside aren’t only noticing that Black writers are vastly underrepresented in Science Fiction and Fantasy, but have actively taken a role in shedding light on this issue. The birth of FIYAH Literary Magazine was an answer to this problem and its staff didn’t need statistics to prove and add more weight to what most people of color already know: the stakes are often against us and these writers and editors bravely proclaim” . . . the future of genre is now. And the future ain’t going to write itself.” They too launched a survey and a report on Black Science Fiction and Fantasy writers. I look forward to learning more about these findings.

This year, I’m going to continue this new outlook focused on a Growth Mindset and my goal is to obtain at least 50 rejections (collectively) from agents, editors, and/or magazines by the end of the year.

Why? Well, the more I submit, the more likely I’ll be successful. 🙂 Likewise, one good sale is better than none!

And who knows, maybe I can play Rejection Bingo (originally found here — thank you,  Chris!) while listening to one of my favorite songs, Prince’s (may he rest in peace) “Let’s Go Crazy!”

prince_let's go crazy

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Priceless Lessons From Rejection

So, I’ve been wondering what it would be like to write incredibly short stories and how it could possibly help me to become a better writer.

And believe it or not, rejection, which is often perceived as a negative thing has been one of the best events that has happened to me as a writer.

I remember years ago when I first started to write. To seriously write. Not just for my own pleasure. Not just for my family, but for an audience besides my teachers. An audience of strangers in different states.

I submitted a short story to Weird Tales of 123 Crooked Lane. At the time, back in the 90s, they were THE MAGAZINE to submit dark fantasy, horror, and all stories with strange twists and turns, involving the dead, the magical, the blood-sucking, and well, you know, the weird.

I read what I could from them. I brainstormed story ideas. I wrote, I drafted, I wrote.

Then I finally submitted . . . and was rejected.

Writing short stories is hard! I’m so glad I was rejected. And I’m so grateful that the editor tucked in my rejection envelope some much needed advice that he lovingly highlighted, bracketed, and underlined. And boy, did I need his help! In hindsight, even back then, I realized how bloated, pretentious, and sickly my short story truly was. I shudder to think of the poor dear, shuttered away in one of my many binders, containing submissions, rejections, rejections, and rejection letters. I promise, some day I will return to that story and fix it. But don’t hold your breath because I promise it might take a while.

Here are some of the priceless tips from him to me to you (hugs):

*Appeal to the senses — go beyond how things look, go on to the sound and smell and feel of the setting. But don’t overdo it; omit everything that doesn’t advance the story.

*Don’t lecture: exposition is all dead matter.

*Avoid clichés like the plague!

*Learning to avoid triteness in word and phrase and in ideas, plots, characters, and backgrounds is easily half of becoming a good writer.

*The author shall use the right word,  not its second cousin. (Mark Twain)

With this precious information, I joined a writers’ organization, revealed my delicate, newbie writer’s soul to other writers.

Man, oh man! Critiques are difficult! They are difficult to accept and to give, but I need them like a flower needs water, air, and sunlight. Critiques (properly done) are what helps to improve a writer and to push them into fabulousness.

What advice or lessons did you learn from rejection letters? Please share them in the comments and/or vibe with me on Twitter. 🙂