Rejections are the norm if you want to see your work published, and there is no shortcut to this. It’s like when you have to learn to cycle. You’re doomed to fail at first.
What a catastrophe for an unpublished writer, you’d think.
Well, I believe that creativity in the purest sense of the word is today’s limping relative. Being aware of what we want to say and taking the necessary time to make it great is a long process. As if this, the self-doubt and criticism we are already built-in aren’t enough, every type of contact with the external world tends to scream one single word: success.
Everyone seems eager to show just greatness while most of the population on this planet is getting depressed playing the comparison game on social media. The marketing stage seems often mistaken for a natural event.
This crazy pace doesn’t do any good to quality.
Last November, my poetry mentor pushed me to submit some poems to literary journals. I collected 4 rejections in 3 months, the last one came in yesterday.
My rule is: for every rejection I receive, I send two or three new submissions out.
It’s crazy how my approach to creative failures has changed through time. 3 years ago, it wasn’t much that I had started writing on this platform, I sent two pieces out. In less than a couple of days, I received a negative response.
I was furious. Instead of asking myself: where did I go wrong? Is it my writing? Is it the message? Is it the flavour of the literary journal which doesn’t give space to my ideas? Or is it how it has to be? I kept my sulk, I started writing more, but I felt so betrayed that I decided to keep my writing private.
Today I say thank god they did reject my writings. I think I cared more about seeing my name published than writing a good body of work.
Today I consider publishing as sharing a piece I can’t stop reading. It has to pulsate out of me. I try to calm the ego down and give space to what art is made for: entertain the artist and the receiver.
Of course, I would love to have a yes, but at the same time, I am surprisingly calm.
The real adrenaline comes when I sit and play with words. I spent 10 hours to polish a single poem of 5 stanzas last week, and that is what makes me happy. This is my certainty that getting where I want is a matter of time. Because the outcome doesn’t really matter. The pleasure is in the writing journey.
Creatives, we do deserve understanding. We’re already enough fucked up.
And we do need to celebrate rejections as well 🙂