Well, today is a lost day. The lostness of the day is entirely to do with getting a single hour of crappy sleep last night and an allergy-sinus thing which is settling into my ears. I say that not to whine or give excuses, just to reassure you it has nothing to do with the theme of this post.
Which is rejection. When I started my resurgence in writing a month or so ago and committed to a submission a week, the first thing I got out was a story called, "The Best Medicine," which was rejected today by The First Line.
I think it's okay for writers to express their disappointment. I'm bummed. I like that story, and I was hoping they would to. But. I also want to take this as an opportunity to make some comments about the writer's response to rejections. Tomorrow, I'd like to make some follow-up comments on the editorial side of rejection.
There are some things which I personally think are flat-out unprofessional, unproductive, and inappropriate, even if they're understandable emotional reactions:
- Getting angry.
- Telling the world why you think the editor made the wrong choice.
- Making public defamation.
Here are a few things that I think are equally bad responses to one or two rejections, but arguably more tempting:
- Ditching your story.
- Jumping into major revisions.
- Panicking and suddenly asking for more outside opinions.
There are a few more responses that are even more tempting, but I think betray your professional development:
- Elaborating in a public context as to why you thought the story would have been a great choice for that publication.
- Speculating in public as to why you think the story might have been rejected.
- Suggesting in private or in public that you thought the story might not got accepted there, but you sent it on a lark.
I think the ability to resist those simple, purely emotional acts is one of the signs that you're treating your craft professionally. What do the rest of you think?
Oh, and by the way, yes, I will be immediately looking for a publication for whom, "The Best Medicine," might be a better fit at this time.