Rejected. Hard.

Ah, the horrible and (with this post) rather public process that every author goes through in this game. At least this author, the public part of it at least, but I don’t mind being honest with the stages of rejection.

A hard days work, and I check my email while gutsing down my dinner. Hurrah, I exclaim, a reply from Huia! Finally! Oh, wait, I think, it looks rather like a form response. Maybe I have to check the link on the email to the website, to check the full list of finalists. Maybe I’m there. And yeah, the mind clings to hope where there is none.

The internal editors tell me that this is a form rejection email, while I hope my name is on the list of finalists on the website. It loads up particularly slowly, and it takes longer to search the substantial list of finalists.

But alas. Of course not. Firstly, after the disbelief settles in, comes the outrage. How could they have rejected my story? My story was good! It was better than good, it was my best effort. And hell, look! Some of these finalists have three entries in the finalists list, and my story wasn’t so good one of their’s couldn’t have been left off?

Then the rest of the process of writers rejection, and this part will stick with you. It’s the hard part, and the part that you are entitled to as a writer. The utter depression and despair. That’s when the editors cut in again.

Uh huh. Three entries and you didn’t even get one. That’s because your story, essentially, was shit. Hell, it was worse than shit. It was embarrassing, homeboy. Remember when I told you so, but you sent it in anyway? You have no business writing.

I’ve been writing, seriously, for about 10 years, and not so seriously for twice as long. This part of the process never gets any easier. Actually, perhaps a little easier, because as the moment I consider my buddy Ruzkin’s battered and bruised body after fight training and realize that yes, writing does hurt as much as that sometimes buddy. Some of the rejections do break the skin.

But, as a writer, as much as this is part of the game, you’re also entitled to it. So, I’ll do what I always do. Sag and mope and probably eat a lot. Wonder what I thought I was thinking being in this game. It might last a few days. It might last as long as it takes for me to forget it. It comes at a hard time, especially when I’m questioning why I’m writing and what I’m doing.

Then I’ll pick up, open up a new document, and start again.re


4 thoughts on “Rejected. Hard.

  1. You are an excellent writer and this is a great story – kind of tight and emotional but not at all soppy – anyone who has been through any sort of rejection would get it (and those who haven’t). What was missing from your entry that is here in this blog? Cheers, R.

  2. You will, you’ve done this before. The story was just not what they were looking for – remember? You were telling me this just last week!

  3. It’s one thing to say “Ah, maybe it wasn’t FOR them.” But eventually, after many many rejections, you have to look at your work and figure out whether there is some fundamental mistake you’re making.

    I’m in much the same position. A hundred rejections vs one sale. But that single sale was for a story where a friend read it through and said “Look, you keep repeating scenes. In all your short stories you repeat situations in slightly different locales, and there’s no need. Delete.” I followed his advice and sold a story. Maybe that’s why all me previous shorts are un-sellable – it’s my fatal, repeating flaw. But had I not had that pointed out to me, I’d never have even sold one.

    So. Take a step back. Let’s look at all your stuff, and see if there’s a common obstacle to publication. Do you have the pieces you sent to Huia online?

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