Writers constantly have to deal with rejection. My first was non-professional. It took place in High School when our English teacher allowed the class to rate poetry we had written. I wrote about my city-New York-and I sensed I had impressed our teacher. But the class was under-whelmed. Nothing our insrtuctor said could influence my fellow students. There I was stuck with a B-I tore up the poem.
The second rejection came from another teacher. This time our assignment was to write a short story. I wrote what I considered a larger-than-life romance complete with sexy hero and heroine, moonlight, roses, conflict, divorce and reconciliation. The story came back with, "Worst thing I ever read," scrawled in red ink across the first page.
I was still performing when I began to write a play. I realized that ther were many more parts written for men in plays, motion pictures and television then there were for women. I decided to write a play that focused on women. The play wasn't bad but...that's entirel different blog.
On to another play, a playwriting group, a small award, readings and a fictionalized story about my family-the first story to be published. Then-a box filled with letters of rejection-some encouraging-when an editor took the time to write a few words, some discouraging-a form letter. Then the first check-someone would actually pay to read something I wrote-I phot-copied the check and saved the letter.
Next came articles-historical and travel-with time spent on research. This led, in my opinion, to the most interesting part of rejection-the rare letter that was a put-down instead of a turn-down. Days, sometimes weeks of depression-the article thrown in a drawer until I could take it out, calmly examine the letter, mull it over, sleep on it until I could decide whether the rejection was deserved or whether the rejecter had a bad day. Should the piece be rewritten, destroyed or sent to another magazine? Happy to say the nasty rejections were wrong-the two articles that received them sold to bigger, more prestigious publications that paid a good deal more. What did I learn? Never throw anything out including a High School poem.
I would like to learn about your experiences with rejection and how you handled them.