Submit and Obey

 Image shows a pile of white envelopes against a red background. Years ago, the first few probably hurt the most. But the more I collected, the less painful they felt. A sense of routine happens. This year I submitted more essays for publication than any other year. Which means of course, I’ve been receiving a lot of rejections. 

I draft with fervor pieces which on a reread I find terrible. I revise and reshape them into something decent.  Eventually it’s as good as it will get without me going crazy. I obey provided guidelines and ship it off to literary land. And I wait. 

Weeks pass. Maybe months. Most of the essays process electronically through the Submittable website. An email notifies me of decisions. Rarely do I deal in SASE’s anymore. Even more rarely do I receive the congratulatory voicemail. 

As rejections become familiar, I notice patterns in phrasing. “Not for us,” is not one I love. “We look forward to reading more of your work,” is one that fills me with hope. In a way, any rejection even the lackluster form letter is better than the silence of the non-response void.

The more I write, the more I revise; the more I submit, the greater the chances of earning an acceptance. I can’t improve if I don’t try.

What rejections of writing or otherwise are memorable for you? Tell me about it.


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