I recently passed a milestone that some might consider dubious: 100 rejections for my short fiction. I’m not actually sure which one was my 100th, since two recent ones have no entry in my Duotrope database, but I’m going to say that it was for my story “In Training” just because I like the sound of it, and there’s a decent chance that it’s true.
Stephen King told the story of his first rejection: he stuck a nail in the wall, put the rejection on it, and got right back to work. He did that until there were so many that the nail fell out, so he replaced it with a spike and kept going. Mine are mostly digital, so I don’t know how a nail would hold up. Maybe a really flimsy finishing nail would fall down, necessitating a spike. 🙂
The thing is, after a while they don’t sting anymore (…much) and you start to see them for what they are: proof that you’re getting work done and putting it out in the line of fire. Rejections are proof that you’re taking risks; continued rejections, that you’re not completely daunted by them. Anyone can keep writing and submitting after making a sale; I’m proud that I’ve kept writing and submitting after getting a rejection, getting a hundred of them. Here’s to a hundred more! <whisper>With maybe a few more sales thrown in? Just to mix it up…</whisper>