A while back I posted about my writing goals for 2017. One of my favorite goals, and one that I’ve spoken about with several other writers at different stages of their career, was my goal of getting 100 rejections. I’ve tweeted about it. I’ve talked about it. And it was probably my biggest goal.
Why Set A Goal To Fail?
I’m the first person to roll my eyes when people placate. I hate the idea of getting a ribbon for participating. But I love the idea of 100 rejections. And it took a while for me to get there because when I heard the goal of 100 rejections I was like, “Seriously? Why strive for failure?”
But then I started thinking about the fact that I haven’t submitted shit since 2015. And if you don’t submit, you don’t get anything. Acceptances or rejections. And while you could set the goal of 100 submissions, 100 rejections puts an interesting spin on it. And that spin is? No pressure.
No pressure! Isn’t that nice? It is! Because there’s a lot of pressure. Every step in this process has pressure. And while you know that the bottom line is to get accepted (it is part of every breath you take) you have to get your pieces out there in order to get rejected.
So, no pressure. And no time to think about anything. Write, polish, polish, rewrite, submit. Maybe you submit one piece to six different places. And maybe you have another that only fits one? You find that you learn about all kinds of publications, you get your duotrope more organized than it’s ever been. And you get into a rhythm.
I started submitting some stuff months ago and have also been working on polishing a few pieces to get out there. I think about submitting and when I go to submit things I look at other places where people have published to find similar places that might be a good fit for me.
A few fiction pieces were out, a few creative nonfiction.
And I got a rejection. A few days before January 1st. I made a few jokes to writer friends and on Twitter. Couldn’t they have waited? I mean, I can’t count a rejection from 2016 toward my goal.
The next day? Same thing! I get a rejection from another publication. And it’s still 2016. So I can’t count it.
And Then The Calendar Changed
2017 came. And wouldn’t you know it? I got an email. And I started reading it. And it was an ACCEPTANCE! That’s right. My first.
A piece of creative nonfiction I wrote when we still lived in Ann Arbor was accepted. I don’t want to say too much more than that because it’s not out yet and I’m not sure when it will be out but when it is, I’ll post here.
The Moral Of The Story
Write. Edit. Share with others. Take feedback. Write some more. Edit some more. Submit. Repeat. Do it and you’ll find that you’ll build a habit of submitting. And you’ll stack up the rejections. And with them? Maybe an acceptance.
Going forward I still have a lot to do. Two contests this weekend. Continuing the course I’ve been taking (it’s incredible and well worth it!), going to the writing group I joined. And continuing to submit so that I get some rejections.