Why I Love Receiving Rejections{0}

Why I Love Receiving Rejections
Rejections and failures are a huge part of life in general. And if you’re a writer, you get them all the time. I’ve gotten three rejections so far this week–and this actually makes me really happy.
 
Right now, I’m in the process of submitting a novel, a graphic novel script, and three short stories for publication. I’m also revising a personal essay to submit to a competition next week, and revising a play to submit to a ten-minute playwriting festival.
 
If I have that many things in my submission queue, it means that I’m getting a lot of rejections. A few of my short stories have been published the first time I’ve submitted them; most of them I’ve had to submit four or five times until I’ve found the right home for them. And some of my polished stories have never found homes, despite my best efforts.  
 
Over time, I’ve developed a bit of a thick skin (thank you, grad school). But really, rejection is not failure. Rejection means I’m trying, I’m putting myself out there–I’m taking big risks. Rejection means that I’m challenging myself, I’m putting in the mandatory effort. Sometimes a rejection means that my writing wasn’t good enough, or used a cliched trope. Sometimes they recently published something too similar. And sometimes the writing is great, but they don’t love it–it’s not a match for them (publishing is like dating–two awesome people do not always make an awesome couple).
 
Two of the rejections I received this week are what is called a “form letter,” basically a “Dear Author, your story was not what we were looking for. Good luck.” In one of the form letters I got this week, it literally said “Dear Author”–and I can’t blame them, as editors and agents often have hundreds of submissions to read in a day.
 
Another rejection I received was personalized. They said my short story was well-written, and then said specifically why it isn’t a match for their magazine (they prefer stories where the fantasy element is more integral to the plot rather than the background). And then they said, “we would be happy to see more from you in the future.” This is the second, very personalized rejection letter I’ve received for the story, and I get the feeling that it’s catching attention, and that it will find a home, as long as I don’t give up, as long as I keep at it.
To me, rejections aren’t an invitation to give up. They’re a sign that I’m going somewhere.