Over-optimistic? Prideful? Bombastic? Arrogant?
A definite maybe to all of those things, is my response, when looking back over my last few blog entries. I have been guilty of the sin of pride and been dealt the suitable response. I will now exist on nothing more than bread and water for 40 days and 40 nights, and never again presume to tempt the fates...
Too much? Yeah, okay, maybe. But still, that's how it feels when the rejections start rolling in after a period of success.
I have written a number of entries recently about the various things I have been doing and the stories which have been accepted. All was going so well until last week when 9 stories were rejected in one go. They were all to one publication, to be sure, but they couldn't find anything in any of the stories that they wanted to use, despite being a wide spread of different styles, genres, and formats. On the same day I checked in with a competition that I entered back in October - having sent them what I considered to be my strongest piece - to find that not only had I not won, I wasn't even in the shortlist.
It was a dark day.
My response? Well, I whined about it a bit, and then I immediately sent out two of the rejected stories to another magazine. Despite warning of a possible lengthy delay in response, as most magazines do, they managed to assess and reject both of the stories in less than 24 hours.
I was suitably chagrined and chastened.
And, really, that's all it takes to knock a writer's ego. We are only ever as happy as our last success, and one rejection (never mind 13 in two days!) is enough to wipe the slate clean again.
It was pointed out to me by my friend, Elaine, commenting on one of my whinges, that these rejections were actually a sign that I am sending a lot of work out. The more you send, the more you have accepted, yes, but also the more you will have rejected. And this is entirely true. One of the key skills in being a writer is to learn to take the rejections and carry on anyway. The 95% perspiration which contributes to success, is probably composed of at least 50% sheer, damned, dogged persistence.
And so that is what I shall do: persist. Rejections? Smejections! I shall lick my wounds, and get all those stories back out and trotting round the world once again. I know they're good, and for some unsuspecting editor, they will be just the thing.
Another friend - Angi Holden - told me that in this situation her father would have uttered the word 'FIFO!' - 'F**k It, Forge On'. I'm thinking of having it as a tattoo, now I just need to decide where.