A Writing Milestone

Way back in July of this year I got up enough nerve to submit a short story to a national magazine. I kept my expectations low because, although I’d been writing off and on for a number of years, this short story was the first thing I’d ever finished.

By sending in that story, somehow the “dream” of becoming a writer suddenly turned into the reality of being a writer. Seeking publication changed the game for me. It allowed me to transition from  “aspiring” writer to full-fledged writer.

This past Friday I finally received my self-addressed stamped envelope back from that magazine. Guess what was inside? Are you sitting down? Well, here goes…

A big fat rejection letter, that’s what was inside the envelope. Yes, they rejected my story. Actually, in their words, they “have decided to decline this story.”

The likelihood of selling it was pretty slim. Like I said, I kept my expectations low, but of course there was a part of me that hoped I’d find a contract in that return envelope instead of a rejection letter.

I’ve been wondering what my reaction to receiving a rejection letter would be like. Would I retreat to my bedroom and curl up in the fetal position and cry like a baby? Would I cop an attitude with the publication and use a few choice expletives? Would I give up on the dream?

As I read the letter, I experienced that sinking feeling of disappointment in the pit of my stomach. But within about ten minutes that subsided. The fact is the story was not right for them. Whether that means it sucked, they didn’t like it, or it just wouldn’t fit with their style doesn’t really matter, and I’m not going to worry about the reasons why.

Everything is subjective and dependent upon the individual who is reading your work. A large factor in getting published is solely based on luck. The only thing I can do is continue writing and submitting, and that’s just what I’m going to do.

4 thoughts on “A Writing Milestone

  1. Great post! Rejection sucks, but you’re totally right. You can’t let it get to you and you just have to keep writing and submitting.

    One thing I always remember a past writing lecturer telling me was what her walls were completely covered with rejection letters. She’s a published author many times over. The knowledge that rejection is something that every writer goes through kinda takes the edge off the disappointment 🙂


    1. You’re right. Knowing that rejection happens to every writer does take the sting out of it.

      It’s a big part of the process, especially when you’re just starting out, so if you accept that fact going into it, it’s much easier to deal with.


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