Anybody who’s been in this game long enough is used to rejection. Constant, merciless rejection. You do get used to it, and I know quite few writers who claim rejections don’t even sting them a little anymore, simply because–why? It’s just another of many. Thicken that skin!
But while I’ve gotten significantly more comfortable with rejection, I still feel that slight gut-drop whenever a “no” comes to my inbox. Especially a form no. UGH. Form no’s. I’ve had a couple tastes of personalized no’s and let me tell you: they’re sweeter. Just, so, so much tastier. I’ve gotten hooked on them, but there’s never any guarantee of catching one.
Got a rejection yesterday, which hit me harder than I expected. I knew the market was a long shot. I knew this one probably wouldn’t fit there. I don’t know what it was, really. Maybe it’s just because it’s the first submission I’ve sent out in a while, or because I still feel really confident the story’s a good one. I can only liken it to a fencing duel in which you’re all fired up and ready to kick the other guy’s butt, and in the very first movement, he nicks your cheek, just to show you he can. It’s not a bad injury, not even a deep cut, but somehow it shakes your confidence ever so slightly. That microscopic ding in the paint of the new car. The slightly bent cover on the brand new book you just unpackaged. A gnat’s bite, really, but somehow you feel it more than you should.
At least at this point, I’m perfectly aware that I can’t let it get to me too much. Back when I was a really, really young newbie, rejections used to hit me like a sucker punch to the kidneys. I’d be crushed, and feel like I needed to do something big to take the sting away. Once upon a time, I’d buy myself a chocolate bar, but these days, I get so many rejections, so often, when I’m submitting, that I just can’t spend that kind of cash.
My new routine is fairly simple. I can have one spoonful of Fluff or I can sulk, but I can’t do both. And then I move on, get the story out again, and work on the next thing, because seriously, that’s all there ever is. And someday, I hope to toughen up enough to become one of those authors who don’t flinch at rejection.
(Though acceptances are nice, too… XD)