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Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Positive Side of Rejection?

Almost everyone faces rejection sometimes but I have a collection of rejection letters from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and the 2000’s! With the advent of computer submissions,--recent rejections are deleted faster than my spastic chihuahua runs across my average sized backyard—and that’s fast.

Where’s the melancholic despair that will lead me to write more angst filled poetry? How will I face the reality that other writers might numb away with drugs, caffeine and alcohol and I have drowned in large quantities of cheap chocolate? What happens to my embarrassment—the denial and insecure reminiscing? What about my recollections regarding why I even bothered sending pieces of my heart to editors who didn't appreciate my use of alliteration, metaphor and rhyme?

Should I have a wall of shame plastered with these painful letters or does common sense tell me I should move on and forget all about them? Would you incinerate or shred? Haul the file to the curb and say good-riddance? My inclination leans toward getting rid of them and yet they seem like an important part of my growth as a writer. Every ten years, I find myself holding a pile of these impersonal letters that reflect weakness but inspire me to reach even higher.

Remembering the past might keep us from repeating the same mistakes. This is why learning history is so important. These letters are like an old textbook--reminding me to learn, to reach a little higher and to do things differently, because the future is like a clean slate--full of opportunity.


The young writers of today may never have to face the quivering anticipation of an unopened rejection letter and of course, that is so freaking awesome. On the other hand, what do you think?
Are they missing some painful lessons?

14 comments:

  1. Cheap chocolate, huh?

    I have a bunch of rejection letters, too. I even scanned them and created a file on my computer (I got these back when writers still used things called typewriters). I looked at mine a lot--as my dad used to say, telling me no just made me more determined to do something. It worked!

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  2. Absolutely keep the rejection letters, they're a part of the job -- and new writers should have to face them and get used to them. As for me, I've got enough to wallpaper my office.

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  3. I started keeping mine for a while and then you know? I don't want reminders of people telling me my work isn't good enough for them. I have to battle back my anti-muse for that song and chorus. The more positives I plaster my wall, the more I am likely to succeed. I say burn them. :)

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  4. It's part of the job. Holding onto them is your call entirely.

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  5. It's all in how you look at it, but it sounds like you've put a positive spin and keep them as a reminder to continue to do better. It's always a good idea to remember where you came from to see how far you've gone.

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  6. Keep them, read them, and move on. You are a brilliant writer, and no amount of rejection letters will ever change that. Hugs Barbara.

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  7. I don't have any rejection letter, but when I was working for ad agencies or art departments a big NO was said and that was it. Or people just don't buy your work.
    If they motivate you keep them but I say burn them. For what ever reason at that time and place your work was rejected. That was yesterday not today.

    cheers, parsnip

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  8. Rejection is like sandpaper to wood like an irritating person to another. It's a lesson on our Journey to get better at our craft.

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  9. I've kept all my rejection letters. It's just a part of the writing game--but not a very fun part:(.

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  10. Hey Eve,

    I reckon that those rejection letters are a catalyst that enhances your determination. When we stop learning, we stop living.

    The only rejection letters I've had were for applying for jobs. As for my writing, I've never got any criticism. Then again, I make sure that Penny does the writing :)

    Gary

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  11. Surely this is a site well worth seeing.

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  12. The rejection letters I have received have definitely pushed me to work harder and work on my craft to make it better. Sometimes they are hard to digest at first, but after stopping to think about them I usually find a silver lining. Of course, only the letters with specifics really help, as the vague ones don't give me much to go on. :) I think it is important that we don't spend too much time focusing on the rejections!
    ~Jess

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  13. Hey! Your A to Z post is a no show. Just letting you know.

    Hugs and chocolate!

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  14. Rejection letters hone the spirit. Eithor one toughens up and moves on, or one gives up. I remember those days, back before computers.

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