You stink. Your writing stinks. Go take a bath. You’ll never publish again.
Did you ever get a rejection letter like the above? I have!
Well, actually, no, it wasn’t written in exactly those words. It was more like this:
“Dear Author: Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately, it does not meet our needs at this time.”
But I know they really hated it, and their words crushed my dreams and destroyed my future.
Um, again, actually, no. They didn’t destroy my dreams, and rejection isn’t really a loss, no matter how it feels.
Firstly, an editor can’t destroy my dreams. They’re my dreams. They’re God’s plans for me. No editor is that powerful. (I apologize to any editors who may be reading this, but it’s true.) I didn’t send my dreams or God’s plans to the editor: I sent a manuscript.
Secondly, rejection is not a loss except of potential. The “null state” of a manuscript — that is to say, the default or ordinary state — is “not published”. It gets written, and without any input of energy, it sits.
When you put energy into a manuscript, it becomes a submission, flying out to an editor for consideration. (We could argue that the null state of a submission is to sit on an editor’s desk, but that’s too involved for such a short weblog entry.) If the editor accepts it, the submission is transformed into published work.
If the editor rejects it, the manuscript simply returns to the null state. In other words, it’s no worse off than before. It wasn’t being published then, and it’s not being published now.
No destroyed dreams, no actual loss. At worst you’ve inconvenienced your mailman or some electrons, but you can give the mailman chocolate at Christmas.
I used to live in the Null State, but it wasn’t very exciting. That’s why, in 2004, I got tired of being a failed writer and started submitting again. It takes more energy, but it’s something I highly encourage.