If you’re getting rejected, you’ve got a shot

Nope, fuck your story. Via Giphy

There was a great article on LitHub by Kim Liao that started recirculating on Twitter over the weekend. In the article, Kim suggests you should aim for 100 rejections per year as a writer. At first, the advice sounds crazy. Why shoot for rejection? But she makes wonderful points:

Since I’ve started aiming for rejections, not acceptances, I no longer dread submitting. I don’t flinch (much) when I receive inevitable form rejection emails. Instead of tucking my story or essay apologetically into a bottle and desperately casting it out to sea, I launch determined air raids of submission grenades, five or ten at a time. I wait for the rejections, line up my next tier of journals, and submit again.

This is the key to not going crazy, to not drowning in an ocean of negativity. Writing is rejection. Listen, if baseball players get to be considered excellent when they succeed 30% of the time, writers get to be considered successful when they succeed far less. I don’t know what that percentage it, and honestly, it should be a personal target. I don’t get to tell you what success is. That guy in your MFA doesn’t either. Only you get to determine what constitutes success. One acceptance out of one hundred submissions? Sure. One out of one thousand? Why not?

But you cannot find any success unless you try. And trying means preparing yourself for rejection. How do you do that, though? If you haven’t gone through the submission process a lot, how do you prepare yourself for the feeling you get when you read that submission response and find that the journal has said no? You don’t prepare. It’s not possible.

All you can do is fucking submit.

So, do it. Do it early, do it often. Don’t just fire off crap submissions. Polish them, rewrite them, send them to friends for editing. But don’t hold onto them hoping they will perfect themselves little legs that walk right up to a publisher and demand publication. Submit.

In Kim’s article, she said she had been rejected 43 times in 2015 (when she started focusing on rejection). And she hopes to be rejected more this year. Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been rejected 44 times. Shit, just got another (no joke, I really did while writing this), so make that 45 times.

But I’ve had nine acceptances. I submitted to contests I never would have dreamed of submitting to if I hadn’t gotten over my fear of rejection. And I did pretty damn well in the one I was most eager to participate in.

The point is, your writing can improve without submitting, but your ability to get over rejection cannot. Once you get over rejection, you’ll find that success has been there all along.

via Justin Hunter http://ift.tt/2el9QJc