Feature image from MANUSCRAPPED
By Jacob Henwood.
What changes after your first rejection?
Lots of stuff. It is harrowing. It is literally one of the hardest literary things you are ever going to experience. It is like eating carob, but it never ends. Everything you ever submit ever again gets automatically rejected. Forever. You just get the one go.
No-one ever tells you that until it’s too late.
No. It is not like eating carob at all. It’s fine. It’s better than fine. It’s really good!
There are lots of reasons why it is good: you can learn about your writing; you get to practice the submission process; and you get the chance to make it better.
I got some fantastic feedback from people who felt absolutely no obligation to make me feel better about myself and in all likelihood were not involved in my upbringing. Maybe they were; the process was anonymous.
The best part though was that the moment the submission went through a wall collapsed. Not a real one. Submitting stories does not compromise the structural integrity of buildings. Imagine if it did. That would be bad. Luckily, it was a metaphorical wall. I had never noticed it before, but when it was gone a lot of things started to make sense.
What I realised as I stood amongst the debris was that it really didn’t matter if I got rejected. Lots of writers have been rejected. That isn’t news. It doesn’t matter to me and my writing. It will change my writing, because everything should change my writing.
It doesn’t mean that the story I am trying to tell isn’t a story worth telling. It means that I haven’t conveyed that yet. Perhaps I don’t have the skills, or the experience to do that yet. No biggie. I’ll keep going. I will learn, redraft, and submit again. I will probably be rejected again. When that happens, I will keep going.
There is a question that you should ask yourself. Why do you write? I write because I love the process, and I love books, and I love telling stories. I cannot think of anything that I would rather do with my time. When I look at that story now, I can see very clearly that I gnawed at the story instead of polishing it. That is a good thing, because now I get to make it better. I get to go back to what I love doing, and make it tighter, and make it cleaner, and make it with the best words with which I am able. Words are the wizard’s bananas, and writing them is the complete opposite of eating carob.