A very somber rejection this week, folks, and a reminder that we’re all human:
I remember being pretty sad when I got this rejection letter. Not for me, of course. But for the opening sentence of that second paragraph.
In this instance, death struck a small journal with a small staff. Proportionately, of course, it’s a massive blow. But even a larger publication/institution would and could be sidelined by something like this. Or even something of a similar impact: A sudden illness. A birth. A weather-related disaster.
When we writers send off our stories, we do so with an air of self-importance. I don’t say this to be critical — after all, I’m talking about myself, too! That feeling of self-importance is crucial to us. We have to believe that what we write is good enough and important enough that the world wants or needs to see it.
That makes it very, very easy for us to take it personally when a response is not forthcoming in what we consider a reasonable timeframe (or even an unreasonable one!).
The next time you find yourself on the verge of righteous outrage because you haven’t heard back from an editor or an agent or a magazine or what-have-you when you were supposed to, take a deep breath and think of this letter. The odds are someone just dropped the ball, but there’s also a chance that something pretty horrible…or dramatic…or even wonderful has happened that has slowed things down on the other end.
Actually, now that I think about it, that’s pretty good advice for life, period.