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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. 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
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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