The bookseller’s version of State by State has two issues now, the Pacific Northwest Reader and The Great Lakes Reader. I’m assured my Florida essay will be in the Southeast version. I haven’t announced it from the rooftops because I want to be dead-solid certain, like, book in hand, before I say anything.
Do you know what a promise of seeing my words in print from a publishing titan did to my writing habits? Nothing.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I sent out half a dozen stories to various magazines in the fall of 1998. The rejection letters I received shut me down. Even the positive one, with the handwritten note and the first page returned with corrections, didn’t keep me going. I stopped writing. I don’t remember what I did instead. Work, I believe. Cooking. Handyman projects.
It was February of 2006 before I started writing again. Nearly eight years.
On Friday, I got a rejection email from Blood Orange Review for my first cold submission in twelve years. Do you know what that did to my writing habits? Nothing.
Well, my first submission in twelve years if you don’t count the Writer’s Digest 2007 competition, where I got three rejections (two short stories and one script) and one Honorable Mention in the Film / Script category. But first cold submission in twelve years has impact, which is necessary for the repetition of do you know what that did…nothing to work. I can’t count the Writer’s Digest competition. I was so excited to get the Honorable Mention letter than I didn’t even notice the rejections.
I saved the email from Blood Orange Review, as I’ve heard some writers have done with their rejections. I was disappointed, but it also felt good. It didn’t rock my world. It didn’t ruin my day. It didn’t change that I’d written that morning, and would write again the next morning.
I’ve been saying that I’ve written past the point where rejection matters since 2008 or so.
I finally believe it.