Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Thrill of Rejection

So, for those of you who are writers, where do you keep your rejections you receive? (Or do you save them at all?)

I used to keep a giant manila folder that was bulging with form rejections, and I mean bulging. I saved the personalized rejections -- with handwritten notes of encouragement, criticism, etc. -- in one of those old sticky photo albums, where I also kept things like an ex-boyfriend's tattoo designs from when we were young (none of which I believe ended up on his now 80%-tattooed body, come to think of it) and another ex-boyfriend's blurb and picture from when he mysteriously showed up in Wired magazine while we were dating, commenting on... something. (To this day, I don't know how he pulled that off. I'll have to ask him again sometime.) It's an odd little scrapbook indeed.

These days, it's a little more complicated, since I don't know where that scrapbook went off to, I threw out the bulging manila envelope (I suppose I could have pasted my walls with 'em, but I'm enough of a pack rat as it is), and with the dawning age of literature and the Internet, most rejections are now emailed to me, and printing them out seems... weird. (That's what I'm trying to use my non-LitBlitz Gmail account for, to track the rejections so I can search for the good ones.) And as a matter of fact, I have a few recent personalized rejections sitting in a pile of paper here on my desk, handwritten notes from someone I will never know.

Anyway, I thought I'd throw the idea out there. And see if anybody's done anything with their paper rejection slips or if they just go out with yesterday's trash.

(Oh, and my postscript... NaNoWriMo word count of 9,900 words or thereabouts. They say the second week is the hardest, and they're right!)

Write on,



Blogger Hebdomeros said...

The ones I get in snail mail I paste inside my journal. I don't bother printing out the electronic ones, either. I had friend in college, though, who started taping them all up on his wall. It turned out to be a cheap, if somewhat discouraging, replacement for wallpaper.

9:38 AM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Hey Hebdomeros,

That was really my plan, was to paste 'em all up on the wall... but like I said the manila folder is gone. I guess that way I could have been truly masochistic and counted them all out or something. But then again, for the last year I have a spreadsheet. That can count 'em too but of course wouldn't contain all the ones from early in my career.

The journal is a good idea. Kind of like my missing photo album, ha.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I don't keep rejections, but my favorite one went something like: Thank you for submitting your story, "XXXX" to XXXX.com. We read it and enjoyed it; but our interest in your story waned the more of it we read. As such, we’ve decided not to take it on.

I was kind of taken aback at that. I mean, they liked it, but the more times they read it, they didn't? Thankfully, I've never written that kind of rejection from the journal to anyone.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep your rejections for tax purposes.
As a writer (artist) you can deduct quite a bit at the end of your tax year, and unlike most businesses artists don't have to show profit after 5 years or risk being considered a "hobbyist".
You may, however, have to show a seriousness to getting published. It took me almost 15 years to get my first real "yes" (book contract) but it did come.
Keep trying and it will for all of you, too!

2:12 PM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Jen, That's so funny. I also have a favorite zinger of a rejection, which pretty much said that while my story was well written, it showed unlikeable characters doing unlikeable things. I was like, "What, haven't you looked out the window lately??" Haha, just kidding.

And Anonymous, thanks for that tip! I do sometimes try to keep receipts of writing-related expenditures but I thought you did have to turn a profit in order to use it as a tax deduction. Hmm, that's something for me to think about (and yes, makes me think that throwing out rejections over recent years has been a bit of a mistake!) Thanks for the great tip, and the words of encouragement -- and congrats on your contract! That's amazing!

6:13 PM  
Blogger rs6471 said...

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
Douglas Adams- Posters.

3:29 AM  

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