Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Let me be clear about this - rejections suck.  I don't handle them well, going moody for at least a day.  In fact, I can remember most non-writing rejections I've had in my life:

- Mrs. W in high school who said I wasn't mature enough for a job I applied for in the school's radio program. (In retrospect, she was probably right about that one).

- Denise C. in college who, when I poured my heart out to her, said we'd be better off as friends. (I'd have been better off if she'd stabbed me in the throat with a nail file.)

- Not making the freshmen baseball team.  (This was no surprise though.  When I showed up to the first day of tryouts ((in purple sweatpants that belonged to my mom, of course)) I knew I was a goner.)

-  Not getting the department chair position two years ago.  (And thank god for minor miracles that didn't happen.)

- Two women I hit on shortly after my divorce who shot me right out of the water and proved that dating had changed a lot in nine years.

- And others I probably can't remember right now.

I took all of these rejections personally (okay, not the baseball one) and that's carried over to writing rejections as well.  I know I shouldn't take writing rejections personally, but I struggle to compartmentalize business and personal rejections.  So 15 rejections in less than a month  has had me pretty damn moody, much to my family's annoyance.

On Friday, my wife and I had a conversation about my recent moodiness and how I've handled ('mishandled' is probably the better word for it) the rejections.  Being totally honest, I'm a worrier.  And I tend to create things to worry about when really I have little to be concerned with in my life - my kids are healthy, financially we're okay, my wife and I have secure jobs, my parents are doing good.  So really, I just need to relax a bit.  No, relax a lot.  Maybe this novel gets published, maybe it doesn't.  It's important to me, yes, but not to where I need to get angry everytime I recieve a standard form rejection.  Everything's going to be fine.    And really, isn't "I can't find an agent for my novel" pretty much the perfect example of a First World Problem?

So that's where I am.  I've actually done well with this over the last few days, even as one rejection came in that had the phrase "do not despair" in it, something that annoyed me for some reason.

The real test will come tomorrow as I'm expecting news on the novel that could make things really interesting, really fast.  We'll see.

But until then, I guess I'm rejecting rejection.  Or rejecting my taking those rejections personally.  Writing-ones, that is.  Babysteps and all.


  1. Your mom's purple sweatpants? Really?

    I remember reading your work at zoetrope and chizine often so I know your work is terrific and consistent I gather that gives you a good overall chance of success.

    And you're right, being a Department Chair is worse than being beaten with a chair. So there's that.

    Good luck!


  2. Thanks for the nice words, John. And yes, purple. I remember a lot about those tryout, but mostly a kid I'll call JD who looked at my friend and me and said, "Do you seriously think you're going to make this team?" I told him, "Honestly? No", then proceeded to cheer with a few others when he got cut with the rest of us. That was a good day.