Rejection Depression

I feel very fortunate that I have published as many times as I have. While the list might not look so long, it’s a hard road to getting published even once. However, that doesn’t change the fact that continual rejection can get a person down.

I’ve had a lot of rejections lately. It’s given me a chance to re-evaluate my work—to see if I need to find a new vision for it. For some pieces, that’s been enormously good. For others, it looks like they just haven’t found the right home yet. What I mean to say is, there is a driving need to revise, because I start thinking that the problem lies in the work. It’s a good place to start, because stories and poems are never really done until they’re published.

But there’s a point when it has to stop.

There’s a point I’ve reached with a couple of stories where I realized revision wasn’t improving the quality of writing, the plot, or the characters. Revision was just becoming a futile attempt to mold my story into what I thought editors might be looking for. And this isn’t the answer. It’s perhaps even more depressing than the rejection, because there’s nothing I can do about it. When I get rejected because the piece could be better, the ball is in my court. When I get rejected because the piece simply wasn’t right for a lit mag, I’m just blindly thrown back in the chaotic sea of lit mags, looking for another bite.

A while back I posted about waiting, and I mentioned rejection. It never gets easy. It gets easier. But it’s human nature to want to be wanted. And it’s a writer’s nature to want their work to be wanted.

So to all you other writers out there: keep writing, keep revising, and keep trying. If you put in the work, there’s a home somewhere out there for your work.

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