Monday, February 22, 2010

Rejection or Redirection?

Well, it had to happen at some point. I got my first rejection letter.  You may recall that I submitted my marriage story to an anthology on the cusp of the new year.  At last I heard. And I've been rejected.


I waited seven weeks to hear back from the editor and during that time I tried to prepare myself for the possibility that it wouldn't be accepted. A reason was given that there were so many to choose from that they had to be very selective and it did not necessarily mean that the writing was poor.

I had to be sure.  So I went back and re-read my entry. I still like it.  That's because it is important to me. My hope is that the story can bless others. But this obviously was not the venue for it.  I'm disapointed, but not as much as I thought I might be, suprisingly enough. I'm trying to consider it not a rejection of me, or of the message

But what about my writing? I must consider that. There is another opportunity for me to submit it else where (which the editor encouraged) and when reading through the guidelines I found they don't want it to sound like a testimony.  They want a story.  Ah, I think that's what happened with this first go round.  My "story" wasn't written in story style, it was sounded very much like a testimony. So I'm learning.  I'm going to revise it and try again in story format.

I really don't feel too bad about it. It's not really a rejection. It's a redirection. When I submitted it I prayed that God would allow it to be published through the avenue He desires.  I just took a wrong turn, and you know, I'm used to doing that.  I'm actually looking forward to seeing where it ends up.  I don't know if I'll handle it this well if I get another refusal, or if my book proposal gets rejected, but at least this is good experience. I also know I'm in good company.

So, on a more cheerful note. . . Tonight I was at a business dinner for work and had the opportunity to present information to our some community organizations (the first of two this week) on the issue adult literacy on behalf of my employer (Literacy Volunteers).  A newspaper representative was present and I was asked to write some articles about adult literacy. I had no idea that was going to happen.  I was also asked to write another article for a paper that I contribute to periodically. This was all very affirming.

Things don't always go as we anticipate. Life is that way. Full of twists and turns, ups and downs.  Rejections and redirections.

How do you handle rejection? Any words from the wise?


  1. Ouch! How do I handle writing rejections - oh not good at all. I either get depressed, vow to never write again or blame the editor OR all of the above. But I get over it and pick up the paper and pen (or the keyboard and mouse) and write again. Like I have a choice. :)

  2. I admire anyone who has received a rejection, because that meant you had the courage to send your work out! I have yet to do so. Sure, I'm scared, but really, I'm just not ready and I know it. I haven't spent the time or sweated enough over my own work to warrant it going out in front of expert eyes. :)

    Congrats on the articles!! Yay for surprise offers!

  3. Journaling Woman, "Like I have a choice." Write we must, even by sheer will.

    Sherrinda, This was my very first time I've submitted anything for inclusion in book format. That was a huge step for me. I think I'm glad I at least got as far as the sumbittal stage! Now you have written a synopsis, something I've yet to do!

  4. Carla, I just wanted to add one word to your great post title, Rejection or Redirection - and that would be Protection. I experienced all three of these when TFD was rejected by a major pub - one I thought, in my ignorance, would be a good fit for my book. I was crushed. Months later, given some inside information, I realized that a contract, had it ensued, would have been a disaster. And I've been thanking Him for it ever since. So many times, in our limited vision, we can't see the better way. And if He says no, there is always an excellent reason.
    Wonderful post. I know the story of your marriage is going to find the perfect home. In His perfect time.

  5. Laura makes an excellent point, one that I can testify to as well, having had nothing but rejections (on multiple projects; though interest was expressed and partials and fulls requested, ultimately they were rejected) from the mid-1990s until one of my novels placed third in the Genesis contest in 2008. Still I've had nothing accepted for publication. Not even an article, though I've tried those too. But looking back on those times I came the closest, and was disappointed when they came to nothing, now I see I was SO not ready. Or the situation wasn't as "perfect" as it seemed from my perspective at the time. I'm content that it's taken as long as it has, or will, even though there's still a little "ouch" to work through with each rejection. I had to reach a place where if faced with the choice of continuing to write or not, if I knew beyond all doubt I'd never be published, I could say yes, I still want to write. Once I crossed that line, what happened to my submissions after I sent them out into the world ceased to have a stranglehold on my spirit. I'd still love to be published, and I'll do my part toward that end, but what I love best is writing stories and there's no reason I can't live in that place of joy as long as God isn't moving me on to something else.

  6. It's an interesting parallel: rejection & redirection. A fit one.

    In the micro-sense it's stuff for pondering & prayer. What next, Lord? What now, Lord? Life is made up of such things. There would be no moving forward without it.

    In the macro-sense it's stuff for praise & thanksgiving. As we're enabled to be content with & in whatever, we realize His plans & purposes are always BETTER for us than those we (or a publisher, or employer, or spouse, or ????) may have.

    If anyone knows of rejection, He does. And yet His very rejection opened wide a doorway that we have gone through ... even these 2000 years hence.

    Doors will open; and in Him we can trust the process.


  7. Rejection or Redirection? Good title and good question.

    It all depends on one's perspective.

    I understand how one can let it hurt (I have in the past) but I now choose to move forward in redirection. Usually there is a correction I need to make so I go back, look at it again and make the necessary adjustments. There are times I don't feel or find the need for correction or redirection and at that point I leave it as it is until a later date.

    What it all boils down to for me is... If you are happy with the end result, does it really matter if someone else doesn't like it? It's yours.

    You will write other material that will be accepted. :)

  8. It's never fun. I try to convince myself that it will happen when it's meant to. God's timing is perfect, no matter how much I want to push the fast forward button!

  9. Oh, Carla, I'm sorry you got a rejection.

    I've learned to read the guidelines without putting my own spin on them. If they say they want something upbeat, I give them upbeat. If they say they want a first person story, that's what they get.

    Even when following the guidelines to the letter, there are only so many slots. Don't give up. Keep writing and submitting.

    Susan :)

  10. Redirection - I love that! :) I heard a preacher once say that a setback was just a stepping stone to success. I like to think of the obstacles and challenges that I face in that way.

  11. Love your title to this post, Carla! Thinking of it as redirection is so positive! I've had to think of those 'no' responses in much the same way - this article must have a different 'home.'

    So glad to hear your writing was affirmed by other sources!! Way to go!! God bless you as you continue to write for Him!

  12. I just read over on Eric's Pimp My Novel blog about a man who has received 11,000 rejections! Now that has to be a record that few of us would want to equal. But we know that evaluating a story's potential is very subjective so giving up before it has found the right home would only serve to defeat our hopes and dreams for it.

    It can be hard to stay positive in the face of rejection, whether it's one, 100, 1,000 or 11,000. I like what one woman did: she saved them and later rolled those rejection letters into beads and wore them as a necklace to book signings. That's putting rejection to a constructive use. I think I might just have to follow her example. :)

    Carol Garvin

  13. Such good insight into something we all face--writers or not. It still hurts, but knowing that His plans for us are good helps. I hope you find a home for your story!

  14. When I read all the positive comments on this post, I am reassured that Im in good company. Aren't writers just the greatest?!

    I hate rejection, but I know when I keep myself very busy with continuing writing projects, I get my mind off it quickly.



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