Got rejected today. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, really. Anyone trying to write who hasn't experienced their fair share of rejection is, well, probably Ayn Rand or someone like that. And yes, I know Ayn Rand is dead, which I suppose you could classify as the ultimate rejection, but you get my point - writers get rejected all the time.
In his wonderful book, On Writing, Stephen King talks about how he literally papered his wall with rejections when he was starting out. He would impale each one (This was back in the days when you got a real piece of paper to hold in your hands when you got rejected - you could tear it up, toss it in the trash, use it to wipe your...well, you get the point) on a spike driven into his bedroom wall, and eventually the pile got so big he had to start a new one, with a new spike.
Now, unfortunately, most of the rejecting is going on electronically, so you don't get the pleasure of crumpling up the offending sheet of paper and flushing it down the toilet, or setting it on fire, or whatever. You could print it out and then do that stuff to it, but somehow it just doesn't seem like it would be the same.
Anyway, Stephen King was a teenager when he was doing his rejection-paper-slaughtering, but it's still instructive; I believe we can learn two things from this example:
1) Stephen King was always a little...different...even when he was a youngster, and,
2) Even the most successful of modern-day writers have to suffer through rejection, which supposedly builds character, but seems to me only serves to make you miserable.
Here's my point, though, and if you're still reading, congratulations and thanks for staying with me, mom. The rejection I received today was from the agent I had counted as my Number One Possibility from Agentfest. She had requested the first 100 pages of my manuscript after the Agentfest chaos and had contacted me within hours after receiving it, asking for the full manuscript. She was extremely complimentary and very encouraging.
Anyway, I got curious as to exactly how many rejections I've received from agents as well as magazines, and the total is...drumroll please...wait for it...today makes an even fifty! Now, this isn't all for the same material, you understand, it includes short story rejections, novel manuscript rejections, blah, blah, blah.
But it all adds up to the same thing - fifty times people have said, "Hey, you, you're not good enough." We're not supposed to take it personally, and I get that, I really do.
But sometimes it's really hard not to.