A few days ago I wrote up a short piece on rejection (of the writing variety) to submit to a publisher seeking anthology stories. I looked at a few things I’d already written on the subject but none quite suited. So, I did up a new one and sent it off. But this one, an oldie, isn’t too bad. I wrote it when I hadn’t nearly as many rejections as I’ve accumulated since. If you’re a writer I hope this helps. If you’re not – well – insert some other effort and the message still rings true. Right?
The ‘R’ Word
Ah. You’re here because you think I have something to tell you about rejection, right? I’m going to disappoint you. I rarely write about things I hate. Besides, you already know that your writing is going to be rejected by someone, somewhere, sometime. It’s going to hurt your feelings. And everything any other writer or friend or your mom has ever told you is true. You’ve got to get over it and carry on. I’ll tell you why.
It’s because of that other ‘R’ word…regret. When I was very young I hated it when older, wiser people would say things to me like…if you don’t finish this class you’ll regret it later in life. Phooey, I thought. But guess what? I got older. Guess what again. They were right. To spare you the boredom of reading about my regrets I’ll just say I have many.
So here’s the nightmare. I’m sitting in my wheelchair at the ‘home’ blathering on about what a great writer I could have been. But my list of excuses for why I didn’t do this is longer than my list of pills. And to my everlasting bewilderment, nobody wants to hear about it.
Here’s the dream. Two years from now I’m strolling through a Barnes and Noble. I head to the mystery and thrillers section. A book is displayed on an end cap. The woman next to me picks it up and begins to turn the pages. She reads the title out loud. She catches my eye.
“ I love this book,” she says.
“ You do?” I say. “Then let me sign it for you. I’m the author.”
I don’t want the nightmare of regret. I want the dream. And so do you. Go for it.