So, today I got a rejection that stung in a special sort of way.
First off, I was really excited about hearing back about this particular essay. In my mind, it was the essay that is destined for greatness, the un-rejectionable piece, the editor’s dream.
Apparently, not everyone agreed with me.
Once I got over the disappointment and disbelief, I got a closer look at the subtext in the letter – or, really, the blatant, you’d-have-to-be-dead-to-miss-it text. Check this out:
“The best way to know what we are publishing is of course to read the magazine, which we hope you will continue to do.”
Did that just happen? Girl, you just been told!
It feels a bit like when Dave W. (and Dave, I hope you’re reading this) told me the day before homecoming that he had decided not to be my date, after all.
It’s not as if I clenched half-moon cuts into my palms all day, but I did think about this letter a lot. It’s like being called a moron, only more snobbish.
Once I got over some rebellious feelings, I realized: they are a little bit right. (Oooh, I did not enjoy writing that.) Here’s the thing – I did read several issues of their publication. And, to me, what I was writing looked exactly like what they were printing.
But, and this is important: I. Do. Not. Know. What. I. Am. Doing.
Okay, so I submitted something they aren’t looking for. Now I can cross that marked off my list. Which is a relief, because there are literally thousands of markets out there. I feel bad for wasting their time; except no, not really. Everyone has to learn somewhere; this is my where. I am happy to accept this rejection as a learning experience and move on.
And that feels really good.