Rituals Through Rejection

Writing used to be a fun hobby of mine, something to dabble in. Dash off a 500 story for an MMO guild here, pontificate about gobbledegook there, garnish with an funny little anecdote for the amuse-bouche. All harmless, in their self-contained worlds, of known audiences. Safe.

What changed, was that I found I like writing. The process of it, the sitting down with purpose, filling a page with words, new words, my words. I liked the idea of showing the world my writing, and so I sat down this June and wrote a short story. It’s not much, maybe 1750 words. A very short story, but long enough to be sent to professional markets. I had nothing to lose.

Another story followed, and then my first rejection. Finally, I thought. Rejection! I’ve made it! Every writer must collect their Stephen King Railroad Spike of reject slips, and I was prepared. I sent the story right back into the marketplace, and sat down to write.

And then I was stuck. Why hadn’t I heard back yet from my first story? Why did the second one get rejected so fast? Why am I sitting at over 70 days from sending in my work to date – remember, this is only two stories I’m moping about – with no response? Turns out, I’d rather be rejected than ignored.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. It stopped me dead in my tracks, kept me from writing for two months. I’d start, get a solid swell going on a story, and then hit my critical voice: “This won’t get rejected. It won’t get read, just sit at the bottom of the pile forgotten. What’s the point?”

That shit hurts.

Well, this is the point. Writing. Publishing. Doing it all over again, one step after another. Refining my craft through practice and ritual. Determining to write, through rejection, through not being noticed, through being noticed, through anything. It’s sitting in a chair, for God’s sake! I’m not curing cancer! I’m pretty sure I can keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Eli Jones avatar
Eli Jones
Eli Jones is a spectulative fiction writer and data analyst living in the Cascadia Bioregion.