The Rejection Connection

Publication1 rejection photo 1

A writer’s life is full of rejections unless of course you are a rare individual who has every manuscript published the first time, every time. I’ve had a number of rejections, some not as good as others. I prefer the formal rejection. There’s nothing personal, they just didn’t want the story. But I recently received a rejection that, dare I say, made me happy.

I know that you’re probably thinking that I have finally lost my mind. Not yet I haven’t. I think I might be close though.

You see, the rejection letter not only told me why they didn’t want it, but they liked the story. It was a personal reply from the editor. The words she used where encouraging. So I couldn’t help but share the news with my fellow writers and workshoppers.

Here’s the great bit. I couldn’t stop smiling after I heard the news.
A fellow workshopper has sent stories to the same magazine and has never received a personal reply from the editor, just the standard form rejection email. The editor took time out of their busy work schedule to personally let me know that my story idea was “plucky”, but a little too “macho” for their magazine.

The whole attitude of the email was pleasant.

It was my first positive rejection and I hope that it won’t be my last.
Although my story was not accepted by this publisher, I know that it will be accepted by another. No disillusionment here. No more believing I’m not good enough. It’s funny how rejection can actually lift one’s confidence.

Until the next rejection,

EJ

Off Line

offline final pic

I once read a blog post where an intelligent writer said that you have to be consistent when blogging. Oh. Right, that was me. And here I am writing the first blog in months. I should take my own advice. But trying to stop myself falling into a state of depression meant that some aspects of my life had to be put on hold. I’m being honest here. This post is a little longer than my others.

So bear with me.

There are so many of us out there who have full time jobs, study, children, husbands, wives who demand not only our time but also a lot of emotional real estate. When it comes to my family I wouldn’t have it any other way. And there was my problem. Every day I struggled with finding a way to remain clear-headed and rational. I had somehow lured myself into thinking that I was never going to amount to anything. My dreams, it seemed, were floating away and I had no idea how to catch up with them.

Eight months of constant negative attitude directed at me from people who just didn’t get the fact that I’m was only there to help them was making me miserable. It wasn’t my fault that they let their sick refrigerator or washing machine break down over a period of weeks, before calling us to come fix it. The feeling that I wasn’t able to satisfy them seriously started making me feel like everything was my fault. I now know better. Thank goodness.

The feeling that I was useless crossed over into motherhood. I felt like I was letting my son down. I couldn’t protect him. Bullying just shouldn’t happen. We eventually sorted it out, but it took an emotional toll on both of us. What I didn’t realise is that in all of the bullying, my son was comfortable enough to tell me what was going on and how he was feeling. What I didn’t see is that I had shown him that I had his back; that I would support and defend his actions, even if he ever thought (as a last resort) that he needed to defend himself physically. When things like that happen and you’ve experienced it yourself as a child—well the flood gates do open. I realised that I had not had the same support. Sticks and stones and deal with it. I don’t ever remember my parents going to the school. They were still good parents who did their best.

Letting go of the past has been hard. But I’ve had to move forward. I once believed that doing my best was never good enough. Where does it get you? I had to hit a personal low to find out that I had a great support network with family and friends who believe in me. Now I had to believe in myself. That’s hard to do when you’re a mum. Everyone, no matter how many times you hear you have to look out for yourself, knows what it’s like to have others dependant on you, relying on you. You always forget about yourself because somehow you believe that they are more important. They are important.

But so am I.

So taking that step to making my family and myself a little more independent from each other (in a healthy way) was hard. Why? Because I had been taught from a very early age that mothers and fathers sacrifice their dreams and hopes so that their children can follow theirs. It’s a vicious cycle. One that I am conscientiously trying to break. It’s hard work trying to separate and dissolve something that’s been ingrained in your head for the last thirty odd years.

When it came to my writing, I had become my own worst enemy. It was funny. I respected the fact that I would be receiving rejections. I’ve had them before. I have my five minutes of response and it’s over with. But I suddenly realised that you can’t get a rejection or an acceptance when you haven’t sent anything out there. I would nearly finish a project, convince myself that it wasn’t any good and start something new.

I even convinced myself at one stage that the mentorship with the Australian Horror Writers Association was a fluke.

I am so glad that I found the courage to sit down, discuss how I was feeling with fellow writers who are also good friends. It was nice to know that I wasn’t the only one feeling that way and it lifted the burden. Changing the way you see yourself is hard but when you recognise the positives and the steps forward, boy is it satisfying. The road ahead is scary but I’m sure not going to stop in the middle. I will still be a target of some poor unfortunate soul who thinks we should fix their appliances for free, but now it’s as simple as “Sorry I can’t help you.”

There have been break throughs. The first time I ever attempted a story under three hundred words won me a runner’s up prize of an all weekend pass to the Oz Horror Con 13. How cool was that! I’ve met some great writers who are supportive and encouraging. Their wealth of knowledge has been priceless. Yes I make mistakes. Everyone does. As long as you keep moving forward and doing the hard work, it will eventually pay off.

Now, I know I won that mentorship because of talent and lots of hard work. Just because one publication doesn’t want your novel, short story, poem, doesn’t mean that there’s no one else. It’s the waiting that tends to do my head in. Life will get in the way. I’m grateful that I did have that moment of weakness. It proved I wasn’t Wonder Woman. I had to stop being something that was beyond my reach, besides I only have two hands and one mind.

I’m back! Bwah ha ha ha ha.

I will keep you up to date more often on how I’m doing on current projects, recap and finish my little Workshopping posts, give you followers some new material and I’m learning to add photos and links.

I want all those fellow writers who are out there to know that I understand the frustrations of life. Share them with me, because until you get them out, you can’t move forward.

Blog you later,

EJ