I was rejected by Etsy one year into my career. At the end of the a long day of interviews, they asked me to code a CS problem (Conway's Game of Life) in a language that I definitely didn't know (PHP). #shareyourrejections
After the interview, I went home and read everything I could about Conway's Game of Life. I didn't understand a lot of it. So then I started reading about other computer science problems, hoping one of them would make more sense to me.
But even some of that was still confusing. So I started trying to comprehend the fundamentals. How did these algorithms work, and how could I better understand them? I wasn't sure, but I knew that I had to try to find out.
The first time I submitted a piece to @TheAtlantic, I received a form letter postcard whose text I committed to memory: "Though we are not a likely market for your work, we thank you for your interest in the Atlantic." I may still have that card somewhere. #shareyourrejections
I noted at the time that it was not merely a rejection of the specific piece in question, but a total rejection of "your work" as a body. It all but said don't submit anything again—ever.
I later wrote a column for the magazine. And I write for the Atlantic regularly now.
Professional rejections are, in my judgment, advisory.
#ShareYourRejections where do I start! I sometimes tell this when invited to talk to students - I only got into writing short stories properly when I met this writer and learned about the process of submission and rejection. The very idea of a rejection was exciting!
It meant someone was actually reading it! So that was very cool. With short fiction writing, the only thing you could ever hope for is to increase your batting average of rejections/acceptances, but that's ALL you can hope for.
And, of course, hope an actual contributor to the anthology dies so you end up selling the story they initially rejected (this genuinely happened to me).
One reviewer decimated me for not having publications when I applied for @NSF GRFP. Yesterday, 2.5 hours w/my team and we've divided up writing of my first paper. Plus *another* paper in the works. I'll have two as a 2nd year grad student. Take that! 👊 #ShareYourRejections
To be clear: I had *just begun* grad school when I applied for the fellowship. So, yeah, they pummeled me for not having a paper as a first year grad student, although I clearly outlined the research that's coming together into a publication (coming soon to a journal near you 😀)
So, I got rejected, but got an honorable mention from the @NSF, because one reviewer sucked. And guess what? I'm still gonna science and show exactly why I was one of the people they should've funded! 🙂 There's my rejection story =)
Sure, #ShareYourRejections, I'm game to do that -- one of my earlier rejections was a short story submitted to a popular horror anthology, and it was so mean and shitty, I almost quit writing entirely. (Editors, mind your power in this regard.)
Most of my rejections haven't been particularly noteworthy though -- a mix of good and a lot of vague, all of them mostly justified? #ShareYourRejections
The rejections that swirled around BLACKBIRDS were the nicest, most upsetting rejections, though -- because they so often said, HEY THIS BOOK IS GREAT AND WE'D BUY THE HELL OUT OF IT BUT UHHH, WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO SELL IT? #ShareYourRejections
People are talking about rejections, so I'll share my own insights. First: I didn't grow from my rejections as a writer. I grew from having the time and money to write. Rejections didn't help my writing, and what I did wrong was not making that money.
I wrote about my nastiest rejections, pieces killed in mid-stream for far less money than I wanted, in this @CJR piece. I had already spent 12 years in grad school and many years writing before that. Rejection wasn't what I needed, money was.
Am I a good writer? A bad writer? Who knows. I needed to be a compensated writer. Rejections would be okay if I were on a salary, or each piece was worth more, but that wasn't the case. Rejection means nothing to a hack. It's on to the next outlet
I once rejected my own short story from a magazine I was guest editing. The magazine had a blind submission policy, and I didn't recognize the story as my own and forgot I'd submitted it months before I was asked to guest edit the issue
Thinking it was someone else's, I hated it so much that I screen-shot several of its absolutely worst excerpts and posted them online in an attempt to shame the author and anyone else about to commit the same crimes
Posting the screen shots made me feel confident in my writing and that I was smarter than the entitled fuckface who'd submitted the story. I then sent what I thought was an appropriately polite but harsh rejection only to receive the email myself and realize I wrote the story
Ok. I'll get this off my chest. So this is for those who are still in the querying trenches. Story time! So. The very last time I cried about getting rejected... #ShareYourRejections
...was actually for a contest. I didn't win Tu Book's New Vision Award. It was the first contest specifically for diverse sci-fi/fantasy middle grade or YA. I was doing an MFA & I was exhausted. I mean, sick & tired of the whole querying process.
*Some* agents can be downright disrespectful & dismissive. I was ready to call it quits & go for a PhD & become a ruthless kidlit activist & scholar. But winning that contest would be a straight shot toward publication. I didn't care about $. I needed to get through the door!