Quick Link: Surviving Submissions: Donning Your Chain Mail

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I know that no one likes rejection, but some people bounce back from it better than others.  I don’t. I am one of those horrible people who wants everyone to like them, although I am trying to grow out of this. has a great post on dealing with submission rejection.  The post goes beyond the whole “X number of famous people got rejected so you should feel fine” fluff and gives some really good points. Head on over to Writer Unboxed and check it out. If you feel like it, leave a comment on your best tip for dealing with rejection, I promise not to judge.

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Surviving Submissions: Donning Your Chain Mail

Crusader Knight With Sword Front Crestby

In the late 1990s, I wrote a short story—my first ever—and submitted it to The New Yorker. It was a really amazing piece of fiction, one that reflected dozens of minutes of toil and revision. I do not remember the plot (which suggests there was none) except for one detail: the female character sits on a therapist’s couch, and, wrapped in a blanket like a burrito, floats into the air and–poof!–vanishes.

I am certain this 7,000-word work of art was roughly 7,000 words too long.

More than fifteen years later, I see how many things were wrong with that experience. First, the piece was a piece of garbage. I did not know how to write a story, and I had no one guiding me through the process. I should have sought advice from someone, if not another writer, than at least a friendly barista or the wine guy with the radio voice at the Safeway where I buy cheap Riesling.

Wrong thing #2: I had the gall to submit to The New Yorker. Sure, I had read The New Yorker, usually while waiting for my dental appointments, usually looking at the pretty cover or the cartoons because the stories were, well, a little uppity in my opinion. Perhaps I thought that the inclusion of my story would endear me to the other works of fiction. But certainly, even if my story had been an actual work of art, I was not familiar enough with the publication to know whether it would be a good fit.

These days I am a better writer with a better understanding of story structure, and yes, I carry around suitcases of humility. I have given up trying to like The New Yorker’s fiction and instead peruse People while waiting for my dental checkups. And when I submit an essay or a story, a grant proposal or retreat application, I do so in a much smarter way.

Read the full post on Writer Unboxed

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