Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
Ah the month of April – when university students finish off their spring semesters and leave campus for exciting summer opportunities (though something I’ve sadly not experienced directly this year because I’m still working off-campus). It also happens to be when many journals finish clearing their backlog and send tiny little daggers into the hearts of writers everywhere. The circle of life.
Mind you, I don’t begrudge this process in any way. Many literary journals are attached to colleges and universities and it makes sense that this would be a time for a heavy flow of rejections. Doesn’t make being on the receiving end of that process any easier.
This year, I didn’t have too many things in the pipeline. The one part of my writing that suffered the worst during the pandemic was my motivation to send my work off to publications, so there wasn’t a whole lot of candidates floating out there and awaiting their inevitable rejection.
Still, my lackadaisical year did nothing to spare my feelings, and I still a received a nice spring bouquet of “no thanks”.
It’s one thing to receive rejections in general – I’m no stranger to it and fully accept that being able to handle rejection is a crucial trait for a writer seeking publication. That amount of resilience is greatly tested though when the rejections keep pouring in. That’s okay, I didn’t need this self-esteem anyway. Worse yet, they’ve all been generic rejections. No, “please don’t call here every again” ones, either though, so that’s something. I’m not actually sure if they exist but I like to pretend they do because it makes me feel better about the neutral ones I do receive. Especially since it’s been a while since I got my last positive rejection, but let’s not dwell on that particular fact too much.
So I’ll just take my lumps as they come, update my spreadsheet with my newest rejections and move on. Summer tends to be a slower time for open submission windows, but September (again, those school semesters) is when the rubber will really hit the road, and this time I’ll be ready; to send more stuff out, to update more cells in my spreadsheet, and to set myself up for another flurry of the proverbial cuts, hoping they never do reach that thousand.
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Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.