The Rejection Battle

The other day one of the women in my writers’ group sent us a link to an incredibly depressing article, in which a writer conducted an experiment: he took a story out of the New Yorker, replaced the author’s name with a pseudonym, wrote a cover letter saying he was unpublished, and sent it out. Numerous noteworthy journals rejected the piece… including the New Yorker itself.

What are we to make of this? How can writers make any headway, when this is what faces us? Knowing that being a new writer relegates us to the slush pile, rejection, and further inability to publish, thus continuing the vicious circle?

I think we’ve always known this is what we’re up against, but to have it put in such concrete terms is more than a little discouraging.
Rejected
So how fortuitous that in the same week, I received an email from a member of another, former writers’ group, announcing that he has published a story in an online journal, and another is forthcoming in a print journal.

From: David
To: Taylor
Sent: Friday, March 15, 2013 12:53 PM
Subject: Story from Taylor’s group published

Hey fellow writers,

I’m happy to report that a story workshopped in Taylor’s group with you, Identity Theft, is the Story Of The Month in the inaugural edition of the Red Savina Review that came out today:

http://www.redsavinareview.org/story-of-the-month/

Also, another story I worked on with some of you in Lou Matthews class, Losing The Title, will be in the Spring Edition of The Los Angeles Review.

Thanks for your support and best wishes to all of you in your writing.

Sincerely,

David

So yes, it is possible, it does happen, and we will get there, one (hundred) rejection letter(s) at a time.

Revise, Rewrite, Rejuvenate

Last week my mother and her two sisters went to New York for a funeral, leaving me to take care of my aunt’s 6- and 9-year-old boys and our grandmother. In five days of mothering, I was able to squeeze in a grand total of ONE HOUR of writing. If the kids’ bedtime tantrums, remembering my grandmother’s pills, feeding three other people, hustling all over Los Angeles to basketball games, Cub Scout meetings, tennis lessons, play dates etc. etc. etc! wasn’t enough to drive me crazy, that threw me over the edge.

So I am lucky that this week, I am in beautiful Santa Barbara playing catch-up, and I am writing and reading up a storm. Today I revised a short story and part of my novel (2 hours), reviewed short stories and novel chapters for my writers’ group (2 hours), attended my writers’ group meeting online (3 hours), and will be reading a novel before bed (1 hour). That is a full 8-hour day of writerly life! Not to mention blogging and reading an article about e-publishing miracles.

Sandpipers

Sandpipers dart along the shore at East Beach while sailboats tilt in the background.

Also not to mention waking up early, meditating, rollerblading on the beach, hanging out with my dog, and eating my mother’s incredible cuisine. Ah, if only all my days were like this one!