... you get REJECTED for the first time.
Well - I got my first real rejection tonight, and by real I mean an actual notification, not the rejection you feel after entering a contest and then not seeing your name in bright lights when the winners are announced (not that that feels any less real emotionally). It's something we all go through, whether you're a writer or not, and as much as I hate to admit it, it stung when I read these words for the first time:
Dear Cate Emond,
Unfortunately, we will not be publishing your poem The Red Hummingbird That Was a Bug ... The poem has been removed from our system; however, the title will remain on file for your records.
Local Poetry Mag
I think it was a nice touch that the word "not" was in bold, to really drive home the message, no?
So, I could take this as a sign that I should never write again like this person:
"That’s why I stopped sending out stories after the first few times."
- Reader comment in response to the comic strip above
because let's face it, I have many - hundreds, maybe even thousands - more rejections to look forward to in the future if I continue on this path (just tryin' to keep it real), and if this one sucked, I can only imagine how much more it would suck to receive rejection #984... but then I would just end up being that sad person who always talks about what could have been, and there are too many of those in the world. And #985 could end up being a YES, but if I quit I'll never know (inspiration, and all that)!!
So instead, I'm going to print that rejection letter, in all of it's bold glory, frame it and hang it in my office to serve as a reminder ... that that editor clearly has no taste and I'm AWESOME!! ;p
If anyone wants to share their own rejection story in the comments (if anything, just to make me feel less alone, lol) please DO! You'll be in good company.