INKWELL NEWSWATCH 
Monthly Online eZine  
News And Views For Working Writers

INdex 
 
 INside Scoop
 
 ON THE COVER
 
 INside AUTHORS
 
 COLUMNS
 IN Her Own Write
 INscribe
 Pen IN Hand
 Write On!
 INstruction
 
 WRITER'S LIFE
 Fiction
 Nonfiction
 Screen & Stage
 Poetry
 
 TOOL KIT
 Top 10 Resources
 Advice/Q&A
 Features
 Book Reviews
 Items Of INterest
 Global Offerings
 INside Services
 
 INside CHUCKLES
 Bill The Bard
 The Writer At Work
 Games & Puzzles
 
 FREEdom STUFF
 Classifieds
 Syndication
 Classic eTexts
 Free Software
 IN Banners
 
 ABOUT IN
 Who's IN
 What's IN
 Submissions
 Editorial Calendar
 Advertising
 Join IN's Team
 Contacting IN

IN Front Cover




Search

Learn To Be A Better Journalist

Buy Classic Literature Collections

Acclaimed Screenplay Writing Software

Books On How To Write Fiction

Become A Well Paid Travel Writer



Vote daily and raise our ranking!


COLUMNS
INscribe
January, 2008


Flying by the Seat of My Pants

Them Ol' Rejection Letter Blues
'Got rejection, baby, comin' down all over me
By  Jennifer Edelson

N
o.

Rejection letters should be all about this one simple word.

Either that, or a long scenic detour dedicated to explaining, in itty bitty detail, why your piece on Civil Commitments And The Justice System made it from the in-box to the "forget about it" heap.

Editors and agents do sometimes write personal notes explaining what did, or didn’t dazzle them (and to all editors and agents reading right now, we’re grateful). But your typical, “Dear writer, we’re sorry but you’re work isn’t right for our magazine” form letter is impossible to interpret.

For the most part, deciphering a rejection letter feels a lot like taking a multiple-choice quiz. Only you never get the answers back, and spend at least a week playing out every “why I bombed” scenario across the backside of your eyelids.

A) Dear writer, we had 56,219 submissions about the same exact thing.

B) Dear writer, you writing is an aberration and should be burned immediately.

C) Dear writer, I hate you because you write better than me.

D) Dear writer, you sent your article on pre-renaissance realism to an entomology magazine.

E) None of the above (you’re just out of luck baby).

A couple years ago, I tried my hand at freelance writing and received something close to a hundred rejection slips in the span of a year (one sold article, one “you suck something fierce” and three positive “here’s what you might do next time” letters).

Most of the time, I had little clue what to do differently. By the end though, I did have enough paper to build a tower in case I needed to throw myself off something quick. Sort of like an unexpected consolation prize. Only not quite as consoling as say, learning from the experience.

These days, even businesses teach their employees to respectfully trash prospective candidates. Coined “the fine art of rejection,” that the term exists says a lot about how seriously the rest of the world takes it.

At the very least, there should be some sort of rejection class for us poor souls on the receiving end. Like where you learn to turn your letters into voodoo origami, or chant some new age mantra while you shred and scatter them into a moving body of water.

We’ve all heard stories about the famous writer who was denied like six gazillion times before being published –- but it doesn’t help the ego much when we hear it on Oprah, during the author’s break from his full time, money making, touring the country eating good food on the publishers dime writing gig.

So how do you deal when your mailbox bends under the weight of loser?  I’ll share a few top tips from “experts” in the industry (i.e. people who are published regularly, and are thus at liberty to think without losing much carbon dioxide over it). And I’m only sharing because I think they’re funny.

1. Rejection Is Part Of The Game (and so is getting smacked in the face with a baseball –- oh so comforting.)

2. Take A Breather And Don’t Drive Yourself Crazy (but you will anyway, and by the way, if you breath too hard you’ll hyperventilate.)

3. Toast Yourself For Getting Far Enough To Experience Rejection (right, so now I’m gonna be drunk all the time?).

4. Don’t Over Analyze (the idea being if you do, your next query won’t be as well-written. . .  and um, whatever. You just can’t escape human nature.)

5. Don’t Let It Affect Your Self-Esteem (because you wouldn’t have failed in the first place if you didn’t try, and trying is a good thing. Yep, even my six-year old knows this. Clearly easier to say than do.)

6. Re-Focus On Things That Motivate (like, think about your favorite book or movie, which wouldn’t have existed if some writer hadn’t persevered before you. Then pop a few Prozac when you realize you wouldn’t have been rejected if you wrote as well).

7. Think Of Rejection Like a Battle Scar -– Only Those With The Guts Get Em’ (except I like being pretty thank you).

Me? I have just one recommendation. I firmly believe the old adage, “misery loves company.” So while you probably don’t want to suffer through another author’s generic poor-me-I-was-rejected-a-thousand-times’ story there is a book that might help. Read Andre Bernard's Rotten Rejections (Pushcart Press, 1990). It’s a collection of rejection letters, some scathing, to authors like Nabokov, Joyce, Proust and Hemingway.

Yes, they once sucked too.

Trust me when I say that this is the rare occasion, where reading an editors comments to writers long perched on that proverbial pedestal, practically makes your own experiences seem manageable, if not laughable.

Almost.

IN Icon

Jennifer Edelson is a Minnesota attorney and legal writing professor. Her writing has appeared on all the finest refrigerators in the Twin Cities. Jennifer can be emailed at:raceyipsa@msn.com

Sign Up and Use Our New Forums! Voice Your Opinion! Discuss Our Content! Ask for Writing Assistance. Post Your Successes, Queries or Information Requests. Collaborate with Other Writers.

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

INscribe
IN This Issue
Creative Karma
Rejected! Now What?
Seven Deadly Sins
Seven Virtues
Essential Ingredients
The Last Quill
Done At Last!
Part III: It's A Fact
Part II: It's A Fact
Part I: It's A Fact

Support IN
Receive Free Gifts
$20.00 Voluntary Contribution
$35.00 Voluntary Contribution
$50.00 Voluntary Contribution

New Novelist Software


Effectively Manage Your List


Writers Digest 101 Site Award






Your Ad Here

Traffic Swarm For Writers


Hottest Books This Month!

Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

Poetry
The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

Pegasus
It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

Re-Verse
The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at FatherGoose.com


Our Own Banner Rotator System
Any banner seen below is either our own or one of our members.
Support the cause - click a banner.


Want Your 468x60 Banner Above? It's FREE For Newly Published Books

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049
All Rights Reserved. Copying in any way strictly forbidden.
Our Disclaimer Is Based Upon McIntyre's First Law: "Under the right circumstances, anything I tell you may be wrong."